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The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Arizona’s economy, especially when it comes to job losses.
May 21, 2020

Unemployment Impact of COVID-19 High in AZ Population Centers

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Kelly Taft, MAG, 602-452-5020

PHOENIX (May 21, 2020)—The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Arizona’s economy, especially when it comes to job losses. Now we know just where those job losses are occurring.

New maps created by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) show there are no areas in the state that have escaped being hit by unemployment claims. However, the Maricopa region had the most losses, experiencing about two-thirds of the state’s unemployment claims. Other areas with traditionally stable employment numbers also were affected.

In partnership with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, MAG has mapped by ZIP code the number of Arizona unemployment insurance claims filed since the start of stay-at-home orders. The data cover claims between March 14, 2020, and May 14, 2020.

“We went from record low unemployment levels to record increases in weekly unemployment claims,” said Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney, chair of MAG’s Economic Development Committee (EDC). “The impact of the pandemic on our workforce is staggering.”

ZIP codes with the largest numbers of unemployment claims are areas with the largest populations. This includes the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas, and areas near Flagstaff, Yuma, Prescott and Kingman.

The Yuma ZIP code 85364 saw the most claims during this time, with more than 6,700. In the Phoenix metro area, ZIP codes with the highest numbers of unemployment claims are:

  • Tempe north of Baseline Road. The north Tempe ZIP code 85281 saw more than 6,600 unemployment claims, the most of any ZIP code in the region. The ZIP code just to the south, 85282, saw just over 5,200 claims.
  • East Phoenix around the Phoenix Mountains and Paradise Valley Mall.
  • South Scottsdale.
  • The area surrounding Arrowhead Towne Center mall.
  • South Chandler along Arizona Avenue.

“These maps can be used by employers and policymakers to understand where there are large numbers of people looking for work,” said Mesa Councilmember David Luna and Vice Chair of the EDC. “We can use that knowledge to target resources to the local economies that need help the most.”

MAG’s Regional Analytics Division has created maps for both Arizona and the MAG region. Each area has one map that shows the total number of unemployment claims by ZIP code, and another showing the number of jobless claims as a percentage of civilian (nonmilitary) workforce living in each ZIP code. The final map is a larger format overview for the MAG region with an overlay of ZIP code numbers and filings.

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About MAG

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is a Council of Governments (COG) that serves as the regional planning agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area.

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Title VI requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which MAG receives federal financial assistance.

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