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Tucson reaches lowest unemployment in 20 years, rebounds from pandemic

Tucson reaches lowest unemployment in 20 years, rebounds from pandemic
Posted at 6:15 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 09:50:50-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Local stores struggled during the pandemic, and millions of people lost their jobs. But now, the economy is rebounding, especially in Tucson.

“It took me a day,” said Jazmine Monk, a new hire at Peter Piper Pizza.

Jazmine monk was unemployed for only 24 hours when she found a job at Peter Piper Pizza.

“I applied, called in, he had me come in next day I got hired that day,” Monk said.

The pizza chain is looking to hire around 200 employees in Tucson.

“We’re literally interviewing everyday, hiring new team members everyday,” said Genaro Perez, Vice President of Marketing for Peter Piper Pizza.

It’s one of many companies bringing jobs back to Tucson after the pandemic. A finance website called Wallet Hub compared unemployment rates in 180 U.S. cities. It specifically looked at rates from the start of the pandemic until now. Tucson ranked in the top 15 with almost a 35% drop in unemployment.

“All sectors are looking for workers as long as you’re willing to work and want to work,” said Byron Christopher, Workforce Development Specialist at Pima County One Stop.

Byron Christopher at Pima County One Stop connects these companies to the unemployed who are looking for work. He says this year he’s seen a sharp increase in interested applicants.

“Especially those that were affected by COVID two years ago, we’ve been getting a lot more phone calls and walk-ins from them in particular, trying to rejoin the workforce,” Christopher said.

Christopher says applicants are finding jobs that offer a more meaningful experience.

“I left my last job because it was slow-paced for me, I wanted something faster where I’m up and moving more instead of sitting all day," Monk said. "It fits my temperament so I saw this job and went for it.”

Right now under 3% of Tucson is unemployed, the lowest rate in over 20 years.