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Surging gas prices were a main culprit behing some of the highest inflation in the last 40 years, according to new federal data. And the 9.7% overall increase in the Valley – where gas rose 67.2% over the year – was higher than the national consumer price index increase of 7% for the year.

Consumer prices rose by an average of 7% in U.S. cities last year, the steepest rise in decades, and they grew even faster in the Phoenix metro area, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more»

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in a poultry processing plant in Canton, Mississippi, during an August 2019 worksite enforcement raid. Such raids will stop under a new Department of Homeland Security policy that will focus on worker and workplace rights instead.

Reversing a Trump-era policy, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that it will stop raiding workplaces to search for undocumented immigrants and will focus instead on “unscrupulous employers who exploit the vulnerability” of undocumented labor. Read more»

Graham County reduced its COVID-19 transmission rates ot the point where it can be classified as being at moderate risk of transmission, a rating every county in Arizona has now reached, state officials said. 'Moderate' is the level at which certain businesses, like theaters, gyms and waterparks, can begin to reopen.

Arizona officials hailed a COVID-19 milestone Thursday, when the final county in the state crossed a coronavirus transmission threshold that lets some shuttered businesses begin the process of reopening. Read more»

Workers are eligible for a payroll tax holiday to cope with the coronavirus pandemic but so many questions surround the the plan that few may wind up taking advantage.

President Donald Trump’s payroll tax holiday started Tuesday, but for analysts looking at the program, the holiday might as well involve a Secret Santa because no one really knows who is doing what. Read more»

More than 418,000 Arizonans – and 26 million Americans – have filed for unemployment in the past five weeks, a record pace for jobless claims. The losses, traceable to the COVID-19 shutdown, amount to two-thirds of the jobs added to the Arizona economy in the past 10 years.

New jobless claims in Arizona over the past five weeks have wiped out two-thirds of the new jobs created in the state over 10 years, according to the latest numbers from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Read more»

The first payments to taxpayers under the federal government’s massive coronavirus relief bill should start showing up in Arizonans’ bank accounts this week, in the form of larget unemployment checks and a direct payment of up to $1,200 per person.

Thousands of dollars started arriving in Arizonans’ bank accounts this week as the first payments from the massive coronavirus relief package began to be distributed in the form of expanded unemployment benefits and direct stimulus payments. Read more»

Unemployment claims set a record for a third straight week last week, when 129,215 Arizonans filed jobless claims. They were among the 6.6 million Americans who filed first-time jobless claims in the week as COVID-19 continued to batter the economy.

Unemployment claims set a record for a third straight week last week, when 129,215 Arizonans filed jobless claims. They were among the 6.6 million Americans who filed first-time jobless claims in the week as COVID-19 continued to batter the economy. Read more»

Trucks line up on the Mexico site of the border to enter the U.S. through the Mariposa Port of Entry near Nogales in this 2011 file photo. Trade with Mexico is one of the reasons Arizona officials welcomed the signing of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Arizona businesses and elected officials hailed Wednesday’s signing of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that they say preserves markets worth more than $20 billion in trade and 228,000 jobs in the state in 2018. Read more» 1

Arizona continued to be a net importer of people from 2010 to 2018, according to Census Bureau data. While 1.7 million moved out of the state during that period, 2.2 million moved in, with many of the newcomers moving from California.

Californians have been beating a path to Arizona over the last decade – but it’s not exactly been a one-way street. While close to 500,000 people moved from California to Arizona from 2010 to 2018, just over 308,000 people were moving in the other direction. Read more»

Gov. Doug Ducey said that trade between Arizona and Mexico is vital to the state but that border security is more important, which is why he could be ‘supportive’ of a short shutdown of the border that President Donald Trump has threatened if it was needed.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey gave conditional support Wednesday to a “short as possible” border shutdown, then shifted the blame to Congress. But President Trump announced Thursday that he'll put off closing crossing on the U.S.-Mexico border. Read more»

House Democrats gather Friday after passing a budget bill to end a five-week government shutdown that the Congressional Budget Office said cost the U.S. economy $11 billion. Much of that will be recovered, the CBO said, but $3 billion is permanently gone.

Once the government starts up and employees are paid back wages, the economy should recover from the 35-day shutdown. Read more»

Despite recently headed rhetoric and the deployment of U.S. troops to the border, Mexico’s ambassador said negotiators for both countries have been making progress on details of a new deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Photo by)

The Mexican ambassador to the U.S. said Tuesday he is confident final details can be worked out a new trade deal between the two countries and Canada, despite President Donald Trump’s sometimes disruptive border rhetoric. Read more»

Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, speaks after a Heritage Foundation presentation at which he said his agency would focus on businesses that knowingly employ undocumented workers.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to boost its efforts targeting businesses by “four to five times” and will prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. Read more»

A cargo ship calls on the Port of Oakland, California. Critics worry that pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership could hurt trade with Pacific Rim nations, with which Arizona businesses did $13.3 billion in business in 2015.

Arizona exported $13.3 billion in goods in 2015 to the 11 Pacific Rim countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That number accounted for 58 percent of the state’s total exports that year. But President Donald Trump signed an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the TPP. Read more»

Defense contracting, like work on Apache helicopters at this Boeing plant in Mesa, could pick up under a Trump administration, but experts say several hurdles could delay a boost for years.

Defense businesses in Arizona that have been hit hard in recent years by a downturn in contract spending are looking to a Trump administration for possible relief – but experts said that could take years to arrive. Read more»

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