July 9, 2021

Trade labor, COVID variant, new spending plans

Plus, industries in Arizona experiencing labor shortages.

After the pandemic forced tens of millions of Americans out of the workforce, their help is wanted again as the economy recovers. But some employers are struggling to hire. Demand is especially high for skilled trade workers. Tony Paniagua reports on what is drawing workers to the trade professions and how Pima Community College has expanded its training and certification programs.

The latest unemployment figures put Arizona’s jobless rate at 6.7%, slightly above the national average. But numerous industries are seeking workers. For insight into the fuller picture and how labor shortages are impacting the state’s business landscape we got insight from Danny Seiden, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Seiden began by discussing what he’s learned from hospital executives about a shortage of nurses in Arizona.

This week Pima County rescinded its COVID-19 emergency resolution that the board of supervisors enacted in March of last year. It comes as county health officials announced that 70% of eligible, adult residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. But for those who remain unvaccinated, including children, the so-called delta variant presents a threat as it becomes the dominant strain across the United States. We discussed the risks with University of Arizona epidemiologist Michael Worobey.

The city of Tucson’s new budget took effect at the beginning of July. The mayor and council gave it unanimous approval, setting aside tens of millions of dollars for road repairs, community safety programs and pay raises for city employees. A statement from Mayor Regina Romero noted that COVID-19 has tested the city’s limits. We discussed how the pandemic has shaped Tucson’s current priorities with city manager Michael Ortega.

With a state government shutdown looming, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a budget on the final day of the fiscal year. It concluded a lengthy legislative session that faced numerous hurdles when it came to passing a spending plan. The final deal included tax cuts that divided lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. For a breakdown, we got analysis from Arizona Capitol Times reporter Julia Shumway.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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