ASU economist speaks out on job growth prospects in Arizona

According to a report by the Associated Press, unemployment in the U.S. dropped sharply in August from 10.2% to a still-high 8.4%, with about half the 22 million jobs lost to the coronavirus outbreak recovered so far.

Months following the start of the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s workforce is still very much trying to rebound, and some industries, like airlines, are still facing layoffs as travel is still reduced.

"This is going to reach well beyond aviation employees, and we want to keep all of us connected," said Paul Hartshorn, Jr. with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

However, there may be good news for Arizona, as the state has a track record of outperforming the rest of the country on the job front

“It’s gonna be slow from here," said ASU economics professor Dennis Hoffman. "Slow is 500 to a million jobs a month."

Professor Hoffman says with more reopenings, industries that took the biggest hit, like tourism and hospitality, can begin to see gains.

"If you want to start with these beleaguered sectors, some of them have come back sharply in the last couple of months, but they remain down year over year. Retail has remained pretty steady," said Professor Hoffman.

Currently, Arizona is outpacing the national job growth number, which is good news. However, the health of the economy will ultimately come down to people's health, and how safe a consumer feels heading back out into the world.

"Folks are not going to consume goods, they’re not going to go on vacation, they’re not going to do the things they used to do unless and until they feel safe about doing them," said Professor Hoffman.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.