While Arizona's unemployment rate remained at 8.7 percent in December, signs are pointing to an improving economy, particularly with construction staffing poised to recover, according to a recent survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America.
The Phoenix Business Journal reports the survey found fewer construction companies are planning to lay off workers in 2012 than they did in previous years. In Arizona, only 6 percent of construction employers said they were planning layoffs, while 23 percent said they planned to add workers.
Still, 67 percent of respondents said they believe the construction sector may not fully recover until at least 2014, the Business Journal reported.
Perhaps aiding this recovery will be the construction of a new 360,000-square-foot outlet mall near Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Phoenix. According to the Ahwatukee Foothills News, the project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2013, featuring 90 outlet stores.
The news source reports the project is expected to create between 300 and 500 construction jobs over the next 12 months, in addition to the more than 800 full-time positions that will be added once the outlet mall is up and running.
This development represents the next steps towards economic self sufficiency for our community and furthers my goals as the new governor of the Gila River Indian Community of creating a more diversified income for our people," Gila River Indian Community Gov. Greg Mendoza said during a presentation before the signing of the official land lease.
With construction staffing expected to improve this year, the unemployment rate in Arizona - which is stuck at 8.7 percent - may soon be lowered. While the state's Department of Administration noted the unemployment rate remained steady in December, the 12-month average of monthly job gains in the state was 1 percent in 2011, a marked improvement over the minus 2.1 percent average in 2010, reports the Arizona Republic.
Aruna Murthy, a state economist, told the news source that while a faster recovery rate would be better, the overall direction the economy is headed appears to be good.
"The trajectory is positive. We are heading in the right direction," she said.