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Arizona's Economy Shows Signs of Improvement with Unemployment Call Center Closing

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Arizona's Economy Shows Signs of Improvement with Unemployment Call Center Closing

February 01, 2013
By Monica Gleberman
Contributing Writer

As the nation’s unemployment rate stays steady at 7.9 percent, people are struggling to stay employed as companies continue to tighten their budgets by slashing jobs. Ironically, an unemployment insurance call center, located in Phoenix, Arizona, recently had to close its doors due to a lack of funding.

The state Department of Economic Security (DES) says that although the nation is still suffering hard times, the state of Arizona economy is improving even with the announcement of the call center closing.

“The job market in Arizona is improving, and that naturally leads to a decline in the number of people are receiving unemployment benefits,” said Mark Darmer, deputy assistant director for employment and rehabilitation services at DES.

Back in 2010, the DES reported that Arizona unemployment rate was into the two-figures, reporting that 10 percent of resident’s statewide were at home, without a job. Now, only two years later the state is in line with the national average of 7.9 percent.

To give an example in 2010 more than 200,000 people claimed benefits in the state of Arizona.

That number dropped to fewer than 75,000 people this month. Although the DES is reporting good news, it’s hard for residents to see it when another 29 full-time positions got eliminated.

Darmer did note that there are many factors to consider when looking at the drop in claims. For example, some of the decrease in claims being filed could be due to residents reaching their maximum benefit, meaning they have been on unemployment too long without working and are dropped from the system.

The important figure is the drop in the unemployment rate, which shows Arizona residents there is job improvement.

The DES said it’s a good thing an unemployment call center is closing and told residents to rest assure that the one in Tucson will remain open. In addition, the agency is working hard to find new positions for the former call center employees. 

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Edited by Braden Becker
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