Arizona's unemployment rate for May was 7.8 percent, down one tenth of a percent from April.

Arizona added about 9,8000 jobs, said Aruna Murthy, an economist with the Arizona Department of Administration. But the state lost about 10,000 jobs, resulting in an overall loss of jobs.

The unemployment rate went down, though, because the labor force, or those working and looking for jobs, also went down, she said.


The private sector employment gains were a good sign, she said, but seasonal school district layoffs hampered the overall state jobs numbers for May.

School districts often issue notices of layoffs to those they are unsure they can retain for the following school year. Some of those employees are hired back once the workforce and budget are finalized, others are not.

Murthy said this year, those seasonal layoffs came a bit earlier than in past years, which she said may be because schools got out earlier this year.

Arizona's employment numbers may look good, but Murthy said they need to be put in context.

“If you compare the overall private sector gain this month we were eight times the average, but the average is skewed because of the fact that the recession years bring the average down," she said.