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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that around 146,000 people in Arizona were unemployed in December, while there were 213,000 job openings.

Senate Republicans want to slash the number of weeks Arizonans can receive unemployment payments and tie the length of benefit availability to the unemployment rate, but critics say that even if jobs are plentiful, it can still be a long process to find a good one. Read more»

Throughout the pandemic, families have turned to food banks for help. Harvesters, a private food bank, saw the amount of food distributed increase from 54 million pounds in 2019 to 65 million in 2020. In this picture, food is distributed at a drive-in in Kansas City, Kansas.

Forty million people in the U.S. are having difficulty affording household expenses, and a little more than 25 million people say they sometimes or often do not have enough to eat, reflecting Americans continuing struggle, made worse by the disappearance of pandemic relief. Read more»

A now-hiring sign is posted at Chase Bank in downtown Phoenix on Feb. 21, 2023. Economists say the churn of people moving between jobs is driving up wages.

For Arizona residents, the job market has tilted in favor of job seekers in a way rarely seen - but there are reasons for workers to be concerned that wages are not keeping up with costs. Read more»

Even though this is the second-largest increase in the history of the CCDBG program, it is nowhere near the level of funding states received to keep the child care industry afloat during the pandemic.

A federal program critical to helping low-income families pay for child care received a $1.9 billion increase late last year - but if states simply use the funds to provide more families with vouchers or subsidies, there might not be enough providers to serve them. Read more»

Over the last eight months, the labor market has added more jobs than anticipated, which is one of the strongest streaks on record.

Economists weigh in as many Americans are wondering if a recession is looming, with the current U.S. inflation rate at 7.1%, interest rates rising and housing costs up. Read more»

Across the nation, states are lifting restrictions related to unpaid fines and fees and removing other financial barriers for formerly incarcerated people.

Each year, the more than 600,000 people released from state and federal prisons nationwide face a range of financial barriers that together can have devastating consequences for individuals coming back into the community, and their families. Read more»

One of the most glaring failures of the pandemic relief efforts in the state was the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s administration of COVID-19 unemployment insurance, which ended with $4.3 billion, or 37% of total claims, being distributed to fraudsters using stolen identities. 

The distribution of billions of dollars of federal COVID-19 relief funds in Arizona, like many other states, was marred by fraud, mismanagement and lack of oversight, according to a new report issued last week by the Arizona Auditor General.  Read more»

Debilitating symptoms can include the long-term loss of taste, smell or both, general fatigue, brain fog and a variety of other conditions.

16 million people of working age in the U.S. are suffering with long COVID - with 2 to 4 million people unemployed in June and July - and lack of a social safety net for many together with a labor market beginning to turn in favor of employers could create wider economic problems. Read more»

Anti-work sentiments are nothing new to American culture, a trend that is also evident in American cinema.

Watching movies like “Double Indemnity,” “Easy Rider” and “Office Space,” you might think Americans had never heard of the spirit of sacrifice and delayed gratification that helped build capitalism - but films like these reveal that current anti-work sentiments may not be all that new. Read more»

Schools nationwide are considering switching to four-day-instructional weeks to help retain and attract teachers amid a national teacher shortage exacerbated by COVID-19 and battles over critical race theory, but low-income and special needs students are often the most affected. Read more»

Nature's AZ Medicine marijuana grow facility in Amado opened in 2015 and expanded three years later.

A medical marijuana grow facility in Amado has notified Santa Cruz and Pima counties that it is laying off 103 employees. Read more»

A major barrier to serving transgender adults is the lack of data available to researchers.

The past two years have been difficult for everyone, but they’ve been particularly rough for transgender households as new data released by the Census Bureau shows that trans adults are reporting startling rates of depression, hunger and unemployment. Read more»

Hamstrung by a shortage of workers, energy-producing states had the largest declines in GDP in the early months of this year.

Despite skyrocketing oil and gas prices and amid worries about a possible recession, energy-producing states had the biggest drops in gross domestic product as companies are still struggling to bring back workers and rigs that were idled early in the pandemic. Read more»

The Village Market - located a block from the Portland People’s Garden - part of the USDA People’s Gardens program.

Fast-rising prices for gas, food and most everything else are hitting low-income households hardest - but the Federal Reserve’s effort to rein in inflation with higher interest rates could hurt those same households. Read more»

The Biden administration said this week that Arizona, and the rest of the U.S., are benefiting from a robust economy, with low unemployment and rising wages. Critics say that may be true, but it ignores record high gas prices and soaring inflation that is hitting people when they shop for food, clothes – or just about anything else.

Despite rising inflation and high gas prices, White House officials insisted this week that Arizona is sharing in the nation’s “robust” economic recovery, with low unemployment, and expanding wages in the state. Read more»

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