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July 25, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Unemployment

  |   Video
  • Arizona’s jobless rate went up in all 11 sectors last month, at a time when the national rate remained stable. Arizona State University Economist Lee McPheters will talk about what’s happening with Arizona’s unemployment rate.
  • Lee McPheters - Economist, Arizona State University
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: unemployment, jobs, ariziona, economy,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons.

Arizona's jobless rate increased in most employment sectors last month, at a time when the national rate remains stable. ASU economist Lee McPheters joins us to talk about the numbers. Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us. Arizona unemployment rate back up to % up a couple ticks here, your thoughts?

Lee McPheters: We saw four months under 8%, so that established a baseline. Then it went up this month. I think the more important comparison is with the year ago, a year ago it was well over 8%, about 8.4%. So it is down, it's trending down. The one comparison that I think is important is a look at the size of the labor force a year ago. And compared to the labor force now, and the difference is that the labor force is smaller. So what that tells you is that people have gotten discouraged, they're dropping out, and so there's a lot of people we're not measuring I think with this unemployment rate.

Ted Simons: There are different measurement, are there not, for those who are unemployed and filing, not employed, not filing, and then who simply -- Aren't there different variations there?

Lee McPheters: One of the important distinctions is whether in fact are you looking for a job. If you're not looking for a job, then you're not counted as unemployed. We do have ways of measuring those folks, and when you add those in, the people that have taken part-time jobs that really are not on their career path, or that really don't lead them into a full-time position, they're counted as employed anyway. But when you add all of those people up, the discouraged workers, the people that are working part-time for economic reasons, it turns out that Arizona's unemployment rate then is called the U- unemployment rate, is closer to 16%, which is one of the highest in the country.

Ted Simons: As far as the uptick here from May to June, seasonal factors at play? Government jobs seem to be hit hard, but that could be teaching?

Lee McPheters: Government jobs, there's really three categories -- Federal government jobs, and those are down month after month after month for the past three years. Local jobs, pretty much the same situation. Local employment, local governmenting have simply been cutting and cutting and cutting. State government is actually back up compared to a year ago. And I think that that is partly due to the fact that with this one cent sales tax, for example, we were able to preserve some jobs. But overall I would not look to government as a source of employment growth at all, and it is still one of the sectors that is losing jobs. That's why it's probably more useful to really look at the private sector, what's happening in the private sector, what parts of the private sector are showing some strength and which parts are still sort of languishing.

Ted Simons: Real quickly, sequestration at all a factor in those federal job cuts?

Lee McPheters: I think it definitely is, and it does extend into the private sector, because to the extent the private firms have government contracts, there's effects there.

Ted Simons: Private sector did lose jobs, construction was down. Is that unusual for this time of year?

Lee McPheters: Well, the numbers as we get them out of the department of administration are not seasonally adjusted. So you have to sort of do the mental seasonal adjustment, or you can look at the bureau of labor statistics' figures. But I think traditionally in the summer we always see employment dropping off, and that's why our particular approach at ASU is to say, where are we now compared to where were we a year ago, and we're up in the private sector about 50,000 jobs very similar to what we saw last year, so we have an economy which is very, very slow growing, certainly not on the threshold of recession. But really not the dynamic Arizona economy we'd expect to see in a recovery.

Ted Simons: Compare that economy with what you're seeing around the country. Because again, the national rate remains stable, we ticked up a couple notches.

Lee McPheters: Well, the western states as a whole are doing better than the rest of the country. Texas of course has had good growth, Utah's had good growth. Idaho has now replaced North Dakota as the number one job growth state for rate of growth.

Ted Simons: Do we know why?

Lee McPheters: Well, I think what has happened is in North Dakota the shale oil boom has kind of calmed, and it's certainly not in any way going backwards, but I think it's slowed down a bit. Arizona is still a top job growth state. We were number nine according to our latest numbers. We're doing better than the nation, the nation is adding jobs at about 1.5%, we're growing about 2%. Phoenix is growing about 2.5%, something in that range. So compared to everywhere else, we're looking pretty good here. The nation as a whole very slow growth still positive.

Ted Simons: What are you seeing now for the coming months? Especially when it comes to certain sectors? What sectors likely to grow, what sectors do you see -- Obviously government jobs don't look for any bright lights there.

Lee McPheters: Don't look for government to even be a stable source of employment. Usually you don't look to government to drive the economy forward. But you expect that the government sector is at least going to be stable. We're still losing government jobs, so that is something that just has to be factored in looking down the road. There are really three sectors in the economy that are providing about half the jobs that we're adding right now. One of them is health care, one of them is the construction industry, and the other is what you might call food services. Each of those three added in the past 12 months, eight to 9,000 jobs, there's 27,000 maybe 28,000 jobs of the 55, 56,000 that have been created. So when you look at those sectors, construction jobs, pretty good wages. Food services, not so much. About half the average wage I think in Arizona. So some of our growth drivers are really not high-wage sectors right now.

Ted Simons: Good information. It's good to have you here. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

Lee McPheters: Good to see you, Ted.

Kolb Studio

  |   Video
  • The Grand Canyon Association is launching a fundraising campaign to renovate Kolb Studio, a 109-year-old building perched on the edge of the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Kolb Studio served for decades as a business and home for brothers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. They photographed hikers and tourists starting down the Bright Angel Trail. Their images helped document the Grand Canyon and early tourism in the West. Helen Ranney, Assistant Director of Philanthropy for the Grand Canyon Association, will talk about the Kolb Studio and the fundraising effort.
  • Helen Ranney - Assitant Director of Philanthrophy, Grand Canyon Association
Category: Environment   |   Keywords: renovation, land, trails,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: They came from Pittsburgh in and set up a photo studio on the edge of the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Over the next years Emery and Ellsworth Kolb used the studio to photograph the canyon and visiting tourists. But Kolb studio is in need of renovation. Joining me now is Helen Ranney, assistant director of philanthropy for the Grand Canyon association which is leading a fund-raising drive to renovate the -year-old structure. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon."

Helen Ranney: Thank you. We're happy to be here.

Ted Simons: Kolb studio, where exactly is this, and what exactly was it used for?

Helen Ranney: It sits at the head of the bright angel trail on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, just below the rim. It was used for the photo studio and also a home, a family actually grew up there.

Ted Simons: Really? So this was a family residence.

Helen Ranney: A family residence. What is open to the public currently is the park store and also a gallery, where they used to show their movie and the residence is down below.

Ted Simons: We're looking at it right here. Back -- Does it look like this now, similar, or has it been expanded?

Helen Ranney: It's been expanded. That was the first renovation of the house and then it's gone on and had three or four since, it's a five-story house, 22 rooms.

Ted Simons: Built right there into the side of the canyon.

Helen Ranney: They blasted the heck out of it.

Ted Simons: I bet they did. Who were Emery and Ellsworth Kolb?

Helen Ranney: Well, they came from Pittsburgh and they were adventurers and tried to figure out a way to make some money, and figured out that people were starting to visit the Grand Canyon with the train coming in 1901, visitation increased, and before it was a national park they started taking photos of you riding a mule down to the bottom of the canyon. One thing they did back in those days photography required water, and had you glass plates. There was no water at the south rim, so they would run past you down to Indiana garden Bufor 4 1/2 miles down the trail, develop the film, run back with those developed plates and you had to buy the photo when you came out.

Ted Simons: You can't look at it and say I don't think so after all that effort. And did they -- Did they see this as a business at first or were they just hikers and photographers and thought, wait, a lot of folks are stopping by.

Helen Ranney: They saw it as a business at first. One of the things they did and I think that photo showed, there was a sign that said $1 trail, $1 toll for the trail, so they were the gate keepers of that toll road. It wasn't even called a trail.

Ted Simons: When we say they took photographs of the canyon, you mentioned how difficult it was to get the photographs developed. Just getting the photographs themselves looks like an absolute adventure.

Helen Ranney: Ask any photographer you see on the Arizona highway, it's not easy to shoot the Grand Canyon. But they had access living right there at the head of the bright angel trail.

Ted Simons: We're looking at folks -- Goodness gracious. Step back, please, with the kid. That's a family obviously, but the photographers themselves would have to -- Look at these people!

Helen Ranney: We call this one Kolb on a rope.

Ted Simons: Indeed! It is! That's just amazing.

Helen Ranney: It is absolutely amazing. They were pure adventurers at heart, and they -- Because of them there's a lot of early photographs of Grand Canyon. And helped encouraging visitors to come.

Ted Simons: And there are photographs even now would be difficult to get would I imagine.

Helen Ranney: Can you see anybody taking a big camera like that?

Ted Simons: Nope, nope,.

Helen Ranney: Not even with their iPhone.

Ted Simons: We have a photo as well I believe Barry goldwater -- Did he know the familiarly and was he a visitor? There he is right there, that's a young Barry goldwater. Talk to us about that.

Helen Ranney: Barry goldwater was an advocate for Grand Canyon his entire career. He was a river runner and a photographer himself. So the Kolbs saw a lot of dignitaries that came to visit. Theodore Roosevelt was one.

Ted Simons: Isn't that interesting. So they were in business for -- How long were they in business?

Helen Ranney: Emery is the one who lived the longest, he died in 1976. And that's when the business ended. But he showed that film that they created when they went down the river in 1901 for over 60 years.

Ted Simons: So -- So talk about that. I think we have shots of them getting into the river and going down. What was that all about? Is this documenting the Colorado river?

Helen Ranney: In those days trying to find a way to make a living, and they saved up enough money to buy a movie camera for $ and they went down the river. They didn't know if the first thing about rowing any boat. And the Colorado before the Glen canyon dam was a wild river.

Ted Simons: It sure was. This, again, this is adventurism times two. These people -- There's no cell phone service, there's no way to get -- You're stuck, you're stuck.

Helen Ranney: You're stuck, you're stuck.

Ted Simons: And so they documented that and that became pretty popular over the years.

Helen Ranney: Actually they took to it Washington, DC, and the national geographic society saw the film and actually featured the Kolbs in I think August of 1914, almost the entire issue of the national geographic magazine featured that expedition.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about the studio. The family leaves mid 70's --

Helen Ranney: He died in 1976.

Ted Simons: What happened next?

Helen Ranney: Here's the part where Grand Canyon association came N the house sat empty. It was boarded up, the park service owned it, but nobody knew what to do with it. It was just a different time in the national park service history. And so in the mid 90's Grand Canyon association and we're the nonprofit partner for the park, came to the park service and said, we would like to restore this house with no tax dollars, with private money. So a million dollars later, we restored the house in the 1990s and opened it up for the public. Now what we need to do is -- You know with historic homes, it sits at the head of the bright angel trail, it needs some help and we need some serious restoration to be done.

Ted Simons: Stabilization, these sorts of things?

Helen Ranney: Yes. Stabilization, painting, preserving the historic integrity of the house. The forces of nature that created Grand Canyon are pushing up against that house every single day, and we have extreme weather conditions and also visitor impact. So it's a very -- It's a critical need, but the house is OK. It's not a ruin. We just want to keep it for another 109 years and beyond.

Ted Simons: Do you have folks who are ready to do that kind of renovation? Judging from the look of that particular shot that we saw, I don't know how anxious I would be to be on that patio doing renovation work.

Helen Ranney: I'd say OSHA would have screamed if they had seen how the Kolbs built the house. Yes, we already have worked with an historic architect with the park and we have contractors ready to go. We're hoping to start this fall. I will tell you it is a little over $400,000, we're looking to raise. We already have $190,000, so we're well on our way. And we're hoping that the community of Arizona will help us finish that goal.

Ted Simons: As far as fund-raising efforts, where are you focused? What are you doing?

Helen Ranney: We have a really great group of members that help us, and donors, and part reason I'm here is to ask a lot of people from the Phoenix area come to the Grand Canyon, we see them doing rim-to-rim hikes or just coming to bring their family. So we're hoping people will go online on our website and donate, call us, and tell us they want to get involved.

Ted Simons: Sounds like American Express made a nice donation?

Helen Ranney: American Express made a wonderful donation, also some individuals did too. So it shows that public-private partnership.

Ted Simons: Tell us about the Grand Canyon association. Who are you guys?

Helen Ranney: Who are we? Well, we started in 1932, and we are the nonprofit partner for Grand Canyon national park. And we consist of members and donors, and the -- What we do is support programs and projects for the park such as scientific research, trail restoration, educational programs, and historic preservation.

Ted Simons: Have you seen those goals and that mission, have they changed over the years, because everything else seems to have changed. What about that?

Helen Ranney: That's a good question. We originally started to help a publication, the park was creating all of this new research, and they needed to publish and tell the world about what they did. So that's where we started. And we operate parks doors, so we actually have visitors centers with information that we sell and the money goes back to the park. So we have evolved, but we are heavily into the fund-raising for a lot of projects for the park and Kolb studio is one of them.

Ted Simons: So if people want to get involved in the Kolb studio or just the Grand Canyon association in general, how do they get in touch?

Helen Ranney: Go to Grand The easiest website that anybody can remember,, make a donation, call us, we'd love to hear from you and we're just looking for more help.

Ted Simons: Good luck with that effort. And boy, the photos were fascinating. It's sounds like a neat thing. Thanks for joining us.

Helen Ranney: Thanks for letting us be here.

Law School Grads

  |   Video
  • Law schools are pumping out more graduates than can find good jobs and who are loaded down with student-loan debt. Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has a partial solution. It plans to create an “Alumni Law Group” to give jobs to 30 law school graduates. ASU Law School Dean Doug Sylvester will discuss the program.
  • Doug Sylvester - Dean, ASU Law School
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: jobs, ASU, law school, graduates, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Law schools are graduating at increasing number of students who are finding it increasingly hard to find jobs. ASU Sandra Day O'Connor college of law is addressing the situation with plans to create an alumni law group which would give jobs, law school graduates. The program will cost $ million a year, but could pay for itself within five years. ASU law school dean Doug Sylvester is here to discuss the program. Thank you so much for joining us. All right. The alumni law group. What are we talking about?

Doug Sylvester: It's the world's first nonprofit teaching law firm that's affiliated with a law school. So let me try and break that down. Think about a teaching hospital. Everybody graduates from a medical school spends time at a teaching hospital. Under the tutelage of a full-time surgeon, but doing real cases. We're trying to bring that model to law school. Where you graduate from ASU, and if you would like to you can spend up to three years working under the tutelage of experienced supervising attorneys representing clients.

Ted Simons: This is -- This is different than what an internship might somebody.

Doug Sylvester: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: How so?

Doug Sylvester: In a bunch of different ways. One is, you can be fired. That changes things. It's different than giving someone a failing grade. So one answer is, it's real life clients and they're paying. And that's what changes things. It's like having, again, a patient coming in not as a fake individual that you need to figure out their disease, but they're coming in and they have a problem, they need you as a doctor to solve it. Clients walk in the door, they need help, we have experienced attorneys, 10-plus years of experience, supervising young associates and teaching them here's how you represent that client.

Ted Simons: We're talking jobs here to new graduates.

Doug Sylvester: When it fully builds out that's the plan.

Ted Simons: What kind of jobs?

Doug Sylvester: Young associates -- At the top we'll have full-time attorneys that are experienced, so there will be about five to seven of those, then young associates, brand-new graduates to law school, 10 a year, doing work as attorneys.

Ted Simons: Noncourtroom experience?

Doug Sylvester: Some courtroom, some representing small businesses. The idea is to really try and identify a middle class that needs legal service and can't afford it. To provide a rate that brings in small business, for example, and they want to incorporate We can do incorporations on a nonprofit basis. Turns out when you take the profit out of law, you can actually provide a lot of services at a reduced rate and still get a ton of training exercises to young attorneys. Part of what's happening in the market we think is a breakdown in a very traditional model. Where you graduate from law school, get a job at a law firm and an experienced attorney mentors you, brings along even beyond what the clients are looking for. We're not seeing that. We're trying to replace that model by having them work in this law firm and get that training in a quick, deep, and broad way.

Ted Simons: Why are you not seeing that past models?

Doug Sylvester: The economy has been tough. Your prior guest was talking about employment. Legal employment was not one of the ones he says that's driving the market. Legal employment nationwide is a problem. ASU and U of A and Phoenix have done extremely welcome paired to the national economy, but we're still seeing a real focus on clients on what exactly is every attorney who's working on this matter doing, and if we have an attorney who is not yet experienced I won't pay for that person. So it becomes a bottom line problem for firms, so they're not hiring as many. And when they do, they're only giving them some times the kinds of works they can bill out.

Ted Simons: I than hear critics saying that suggests there are too many kids graduating from law school. Valid argument?

Doug Sylvester: I don't think so. Nationwide, I think it is… responsible law schools like ASU, and again, U of A, we've actually reduced the size of our class to respond to the employment market. We don't admit anybody we don't think we can get a job, and we've done a heck of a lot better than the national averages. So great law schools are focused on getting jobs, but the answer is, even the ones getting jobs are not getting the jobs they got five years ago, they're not getting the training they got, or the mentoring.

Ted Simons: Dean of the law school, how difficult is it to gauge the job market? You got to look three, four, five years ahead.

Doug Sylvester: Absolutely. And I think most law schools, that's probably what happens. Over the last five years, no one saw this downturn coming. One of the things this firm law group will allow us to do, we'll have a better handle of what's happening in the market. We'll see where clients are, where businesses are, what skills our graduates need.

Ted Simons: This can be argued it isn't fair to private firms that might be going after the same business you guys are now getting into.

Doug Sylvester: That's an argument. I don't think it's right. I think what we're looking for are individuals at the moment don't have any legal representation because they can't afford a lawyer in town. So they're looking for somebody to come in and handle their legal matters at a very early stage of their business or a very small personal matter. The value of that is they then learn that lawyers -- They learn lawyers can be very helpful. That lawyers are not always, and this is a reputation, looking to make the most profit, they learn lawyers are a value add, they're going to hire other people.

Ted Simons: If someone says by doing this to help people get jobs out of law school, you could be taking jobs from the private market for folks out of law school, how would you respond?

Doug Sylvester: I don't think that's right. I think what we're doing is taking our graduates who would have jobs and saying, what we're trying to do is give a better experience for your first two years out so when you're three and four years out you're a better attorney than you will be under current conditions.

Ted Simons: This program costs $5 million but the idea would pay for it within five years? How would that work?

Doug Sylvester: Within absolutely full buildout, these are projections. At absolute full buildout with people and space, at the top end, if this was run like a traditional law firm, it would cost about $5 million a year. I don't think it's going to run at that level. This was our attempt to say if we run it the way anybody else would, that's what it would cost. We're going to be able to do it less expensively, so I don't think we need to make that much each year. To me this is a successful endeavor when what our lawyers are doing is not picking clients because they can afford to pay, they're picking clients who do pay because that's what makes it real, but because our associates haven't had that experience yet. An associate has not yet been in court we need a client who will get them in court. I don't care if they can pay, let's take that case.

Ted Simons: When does this program start?

Doug Sylvester: It should be up and running by January of --2014 .

Ted Simons: And fully implemented --

Doug Sylvester: within three years. We're looking to build 10, 10, and 10.

Ted Simons: By then will you have your law college built downtown?

Doug Sylvester: Yes, we'll be here in 2016.

Ted Simons: All right. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Doug Sylvester: thank you.