The unemployment rate is cyclical, rising during recessions and falling during economic expansions. During the mid-2000s, the unemployment rate dropped below 5 percent nationally and to 4 percent in Arizona (considered to be full employment). The rate was lower in Arizona than nationally from 2003 through 2007. With the onset of the economic recession in 2008, the unemployment rate increased substantially, especially in Arizona, peaking in 2010 at 9.6 percent nationally and at 10.4 percent in Arizona. The rate has dropped since then, but remains relatively high, especially in Arizona.
Even though the unemployment rate is consistently higher than the national average in some Arizona counties, it may not be accurate to conclude that those counties have persistently high unemployment. Poor data quality and methodological issues limit the reliability of the unemployment estimates.