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Part-Time Workers Skew Jobs Figures In Arizona

(SOUNDBITE OF WATER SPLASHING)

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: I'm Ted Robbins in Tucson, where high school student Alyssa Rodriguez was lucky enough to find a job for the summer at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

ALYSSA RODRIGUEZ: Pool attendant.

ROBBINS: Her boss, Brian Johnson, says he was able to hire more people because business is up.

BRIAN JOHNSON: Last year, we hired 62 people over this time period. This year, we hired 90.

ROBBINS: Arizona is adding jobs in lodging and food service. It's also adding health care jobs, but that industry never really slowed much, even during the recession. Where Arizona is still suffering is in manufacturing, in financial services and especially in construction, which hasn't recovered. Lee McPheters is an economist with Arizona State University. He says robust job growth here is tied to population growth. More people means more demand for housing and services.

LEE MCPHETERS: That's just one of the main drivers of Arizona historically, and we just don't have that driver right now working for us.

ROBBINS: Still, Arizona is in the top 10 states for job growth, but Lee McPheters says behind that ranking is another unknown number.

MCPHETERS: What we are measuring are jobs, and we're not measuring people. So some of these jobs which you put in quotes that were talking about some of them are part time.

ROBBINS: Working two jobs to make ends meet? The statistics count both jobs even though it's one person and one income. That may be the story behind the story. Ted Robbins, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As supervising editor for Arts and Culture at NPR based at NPR West in Culver City, Ted Robbins plans coverage across NPR shows and online, focusing on TV at a time when there's never been so much content. He thinks "arts and culture" encompasses a lot of human creativity — from traditional museum offerings to popular culture, and out-of-the-way people and events.

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