According to recently revised figures from the Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics, Cochise County’s employment situation in 2012 was worse than previously reported. The new figures, released in late March, show Cochise County’s annual unemployment rate in 2012 was 8.2 percent, revised upward from 7.9 percent as reported earlier in the year.
Despite the revision, the countywide unemployment rate last year was down from 8.8 percent in 2011. Cochise County’s unemployment rate of 8.2 percent last year was marginally lower than the statewide rate of 8.3 percent, but higher than the national rate of 8.1 percent. Prior to the revisions, the county’s unemployment rate was reported to be lower than both state and national levels.
City-level annual unemployment rates for 2012, according to EPS estimates, were: Benson, 14.3 percent; Bisbee, 9.1 percent; Douglas, 12.5 percent; Huachuca City, 11.8 percent; Sierra Vista, 7.7 percent; Tombstone, 5.6 percent; and Willcox, 12.4 percent.
EPS estimates for cities in Cochise County, except Sierra Vista, are based on a model that pegs city employment to county-level employment based on data from Census 2000. The model does not pick up changes at the city level since 2000 that differ from county-level trends. CER research based on more recent data suggests unemployment rates in Benson, Douglas, Huachuca City, and Willcox are lower than estimated by EPS, while rates in Bisbee and Tombstone are higher. Sierra Vista’s unemployment rate is estimated by BLS using more recent data than those used by EPS for the other cities.
Revised figures show Cochise County lost 925 nonfarm jobs in 2012 for annual job growth of -2.5 percent. Previous estimates suggested the loss of only 50 jobs for the year, with a growth rate of -0.1 percent.
In the government sector, the number of jobs last year declined by 175 for job growth of -1.4 percent. Previous estimates suggested the government sector had lost only 50 jobs countywide for growth of -0.4 percent. Within the government sector, state and local government shed 75 jobs in 2012 for job growth of -1.1 percent. The number of federal government jobs countywide fell by 100 for growth of -1.7 percent.
Private sector jobs in Cochise County were down by 725 in 2012 for job growth of -3 percent. Previous estimates suggested the number of jobs in the county’s private sector had stabilized.
Within the private sector, the number of jobs in the goods producing subsector stabilized at 2011 levels last year. Within that subsector, construction lost 50 jobs over the year for job growth of -3.6 percent, which was offset by the gain of 50 manufacturing jobs for growth of 8.7 percent. Numbers for the county’s construction industry include mining jobs.
The county’s private service-providing subsector saw the number of jobs decline by 750 in 2012 for annual job growth of -3.4 percent. Within that subsector, professional and business services lost 775 jobs for job growth of -15 percent. Leisure and hospitality shed 175 jobs for job growth of -4.4 percent. The information industry lost 150 jobs for growth of -27.3 percent. Trade, transportation, and utilities declined by 100 jobs, for growth of -1.6 percent. Other services declined by 25 jobs in 2012, for annual job growth of -2.6 percent.
The only industries in Cochise County’s private service-providing subsector to see job gains last year were financial activities, which added 50 jobs for growth of 5.4 percent, and educational and health services, which grew by 450 jobs for an annual growth rate of 9.9 percent. The educational and health services industry grouping does not include public education jobs such as those at public school districts, University of Arizona South, and Cochise College, which are classified as state and local government jobs.
Nonfarm job numbers for Cochise County do not include active duty military personnel, but do include Fort Huachuca’s civilian workers and government contractors. The calculation of the unemployment rate includes active duty military personnel, as well as agricultural workers. Nonfarm job numbers are rounded to the nearest 25.
Employment data are widely regarded as one of the most important economic indicators; however, they are subject to sizable revisions. For the most up-to-date employment data for the local economy, visit the Cochise College Center for Economic Research website at www.cochise.edu/cer.
Dr. Robert Carreira is director of the Center for Economic Research at Cochise College. If you have any questions on the economy, please contact the CER at (520) 515-5486 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the CER’s website at www.cochise.edu/cer.
ANNUAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATES (%)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics, and Cochise College Center for Economic Research
COCHISE COUNTY NONFARM EMPLOYMENT
Job Growth Rate
Total Nonfarm Jobs
Total Private Sector Jobs
Goods Producing Jobs
Service Providing Jobs
Private Service Providing Jobs
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities
Professional and Business Services
Educational and Health Services
Leisure and Hospitality
State and Local Government
* Includes mining
Note. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 25; discrepancies due to rounding.
Source: Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics and Cochise College Center for Economic Research