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PHOENIX (AP) — State researchers say Arizona’s economy appears to be on a two-year track for significant employment growth through early next year, with a projected jobs increase of about 11% from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2022.

A report released Thursday by the Office of Economic Opportunity projects employment will increase by over 325,000 jobs during the two-year period now approaching the halfway point.

Arizona’s economy lost 155,000 jobs during the two years that ended in the second quarter of 2020, with nearly all of the job losses attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said.

The largest employment gains projected for the two-year period running through next year’s second quarter are expected in the leisure and hospitality sector and in the trade, transportation and utilities sector.

The office said economic assumptions underpinning its projections include that no major economic or political disruptions will occur during the two-year period and that Arizona’s population growth will continue at a fast clip.

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