Slight uptick in jobless claims

- David Bell Graph/Gila Valley Central

PHOENIX —Unemployment claims rose slightly in Graham and Greenlee counties, but Arizona’s two eastern counties continue to have the lowest unemployment in the state.

That’s according to data released Thursday by the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The jobless rate in Greenlee County rose three-tenths of a point to 2.4 percent in April, to give Greenlee County the lowest unemployment in the state for the fifth month in a row and the 14th time in the last 16 months.

Meanwhile Graham County’s unemployment rate also rose three-tenths of a point to 2.6 percent. That gives Graham County the second-lowest unemployment rate in Arizona, tied with Yavapai County. Graham County is the only other county other than Greenlee to have the lowest unemployment in the state over the past 16 months

Nearby Cochise County increased four-tenths of a percentage point, from 3 percent in March to 3.4 percent in April.

Statewide, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a point in April to 3.2 percent; remaining well below the same time last year, when Arizona’s unemployment rate was at 5.6 percent. The national rate remained flat at 3.6 percent.

Six economic sectors reported job gains in April: leisure and hospitality (up 5,500 jobs); manufacturing (up 3,600 jobs); government (up 3,500 jobs); professional and business services (up 2,100 jobs); education and health services (up 2,000 jobs); and information (up 1,000 jobs).

Reporting job losses were: trade, transportation and utilities (down 5,100 jobs); construction (down 200 jobs); natural and resources and mining (down 100 jobs); and financial activities (down 100 jobs).