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Arizona's Real Unemployment Rate is 18.5 Percent

Arizona's unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent doesn't come close to showing the full picture of just how tough the state's job market has become. Although having one of every 10 willing workers out of a job is a grim statistic, the figure is much higher when discouraged workers are included in the count. That brings the broader unemployment rate to nearly 1 in 5. The traditional method of compiling the unemployment rate doesn't account for the thousands of frustrated people who've stopped looking for work. It doesn't count hundreds of thousands of Arizonans who work part time because they can't find full-time jobs. It also doesn't count the many workers who can't get a job in Arizona and instead head off to school, apply early for Social Security benefits or leave the state in search of work. If Arizona's traditional unemployment rate included the underemployed and those who have given up searching, that rate would nearly double. That broader unemployment figure, which includes everyone who wants a full-time job, gives a sharper picture of the huge need for jobs in Arizona. It also underscores the cutthroat competition for the few openings available.

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