Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Mixed signals on the jobs front---more people went to work last month but not nearly as many as economists had predicted.
Businesses created another 121,000 jobs in March---just a little more than half of what was expected.
On the positive side: the number of people filing for unemployment is the lowest since April of 2008-- the depth of the recession.
Local jobs stats are improving but still a long way from where you could say we're out of the woods. What can local officials do to help?
That's what KGUN 9 On Your Side asked Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild this morning.
The latest break-out for Arizona jobs is for February---one month behind the national figures. It shows mildly encouraging news.
Figures show a steady drop in unemployment over the last two years from close to eleven percent, to the latest 8.7 percent.
Pima County unemployment is better than the state average, at 7.8 percent.
Maricopa County is a bit better still at 7.7 percent.
Comparing statewide trends for the year, the hottest hiring is in educational and health services, which added 9800 jobs between last February and this February.
Leisure and hospitality comes next with 9000 new jobs.
Professional and business services added 7800 jobs.
Construction added 4600 jobs.
KGUN9 News asked Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild how the city can speed up job growth.
He says the city is trying to stimulate more building and business in and near downtown.
Mayor Rothschild says, "For instance bring the Central Business District, which will create some tax incentives for people to build. We're getting pretty close on the University Overlay District. There's some shovels ready to go in the ground. And we're going to do everything we can to incentiveize people to come to the city of Tucson."
In Tucson politics, there's often conflict between businesses and neighborhoods worried nearby businesses will drag down their quality of life. Mayor Rothschild wants to encourage those groups to pull together through ideas like a neighborhood business district.
"Where we bring the neighbors from one area together with the businesses around them and have the businesses perhaps give percentage discounts to people that live in the neighborhood, the neighbors shop at the businesses, the businesses continue back into the neighbors."