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Phoenix ends 2017 with record 2.1 million work forcePhoenix ends 2017 with record 2.1 million work force<div class="ExternalClass8FB41227491941808587447D0B420F23">With a workforce of nearly 2.1 million, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area ended 2017 with record employment numbers and a better-than-U.S. unemployment rate. Advanced industry hiring continues to grow in the metro.<br>Nearly 38,000 new jobs were created in the Phoenix metro in December, a month not noted for significant new hiring. Almost 37,000 of the jobs were in the private sector, with 800 new public agency hires during the last month of 2017.<br>Private hiring was up 2.1 percent over December 2016.<div><br>The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan service area's unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, down from 4.1 percent the prior December. Arizona hit 4.5 percent unemployment, down a half percent from its 5.0 percent reading in December 2017. The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.<br><br></div><div>The Valley's manufacturing sector gained 4,800 jobs, the 12th consecutive month of increased hiring for production industries. Durable goods firms added 4,000 jobs foreshadowing economic gains in the Valley's 2017 gross domestic product.<br><br></div><div>The biggest gains were in private sector education and health services with 10,400 jobs added to the Phoenix metro workforce. 6,100 of those jobs were in health care and social services, a 2.3 percent gain over December 2016. Private sector educational service hiring was up 8.9 percent, with 4,300 new jobs.<br><br></div><div>Leisure and hospitality hired a net additional 8,100 workers. Food services and drinking places added 9,100 jobs, but arts, entertainment and recreation employers dropped 1,100 positions. Accommodation hiring added 100 to the workforce.<br><br></div><div>Professional, scientific and technical companies added 5.300 jobs, up 4.6 percent from last December. Financial services firms added 3,900 jobs, up 5.7 percent from 2017.<br><br></div><div>Despite a robust Christmas for retailers, the sector shed 1,800 jobs in December when compared to 2016. 1,200 of those jobs were in general merchandise and department stores.<br><br></div><div>Tucson, Prescott and Flagstaff added to the workforce in December when compared to 2017, the first month in the last three workforces in the three metros have increased.<p><br></p><div><br><br></div><p><br></p></div></div>1/18/2018 7:00:00 AMEric Jay TollEric Jay Toll602-617-3797