/ Modified sep 19, 2013 1:55 p.m.

AZ Jobless Rate Rises to 8.3%; Job Growth Continues

39,800 jobs added in August; year-over-year job growth rate remains steady at 2%, state officials report.

Arizona's unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in August, from July's 8 percent, making bit a full percentage point higher than the national rate, the state Office of Employment and Population Statistics reported Thursday.

Despite that, the number of jobs in the state in August was 2 percent higher than one year ago, keeping pace with the year-long growth trend, the report said.

"It's one month's data and I don't want to read too much into it," Aruna Murthy, director of economic analysis for the Arizona Office of Employment and Population, was quoted by the Arizona Republic as saying. Murthy said she sees the economy improving and nothing in her analysis reveals that the situation is getting worse.

The biggest gains for the month were in the educational part of the government sector, as the 2013-14 school year got under way. Gains also were seen in health services; leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; and financial activities.

Job losses were recorded in construction, manufacturing and professional and business services.

The month's job growth equaled the decade-long trend in the state but was significantly lower than in August 2011 and August 2012.

The unemployment rate in Phoenix for August was 7.4 percent and in Tucson 7.7 percent.

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