82,000 unemployed Arizonans to lose benefits on Labor Day

September 3, 2021

82,000 unemployed Arizonans to lose benefits on Labor Day


This Labor Day, 82,000 or about one-third of jobless Arizonans will lose unemployment assistance as two federal programs end. This will make a bad situation worse for many of the state’s unemployed.

Ironically, Labor Day marks the final day for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support gig workers, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for those who have exhausted regular unemployment support. 

Only 21,500 or 9% of the state’s 238,500 unemployed people as of mid July will qualify for unemployment assistance after Labor Day. These are people who are eligible for the state’s unemployment insurance program which provides a total of 26 weeks of assistance. As of next Monday, the portion of the state’s unemployed who are covered by unemployment insurance will be less than the 12% of unemployed who were eligible before the pandemic.

66,000 less people are in Arizona’s labor force compared to February 2020, a drop of almost 2%. About 8.4% of Arizona’s workforce is currently not employed when the drop in labor force participation is combined with Arizona’s 6.6% unemployment rate. 

Women are bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s employment crisis. Four-fifths of these people are women, whose labor force participation rate has dropped from 57% to 55% while men’s has dropped only modestly, based on GCI’s estimates. The pandemic has exacerbated Arizona’s already low labor force participation rate for women relative to other states.  


Arizona Labor Force Participation & Unemployment: Current and Pre Pandemic

Date Sex Labor Force Participation Rate Employment-Population Ratio Labor Force* Employed Unemployed Unemployment Rate
Feb. 2020 61.7% 58.6 3,584,045 3,407,756 176,289 4.9%
Male 66.9%
Female 56.8%
July 2021 60.6%(P) 56.6(P) 3,631,914(P) 3,393,427(P) 238,487(P) 6.6%(P)
Male 66.5%
Female 55.0%


Source: Local Area Unemployment Statistics Home Page (bls.gov)

(P) Preliminary

Gender estimates derived by GCI from Current Population Survey for Arizona, adjusted to match Arizona’s total Labor Force Participation as estimated by Bureau of Labor Statistics.