Valley experts say it's a job-seeker's market right now

PHOENIX - The latest figures from the Arizona Department of Administration show the state's unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a point last month to 7.8 percent.

The construction industry is driving the most job growth, but a new survey released by a Phoenix management consulting firm finds things are looking up for most job seekers.

According to Leathers Milligan & Associates Managing Partner Dick Lippert, "Companies  must be intentional about retaining their most talented workers. It is no longer enough to say, ‘Be happy you have a job.'"

The survey finds about three-quarters of companies are worried about losing their best employees.

Nearly 60 percent surveyed have already added or plan to hire workers this year.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's April statistics, the number of people quitting their jobs is up 8 percent compared to last year and up 19 percent compared to two years ago.

"If you go down the list of what really matters to people on the job, compensation is not at the top," said Mary Ann Luciano, vice president for business development at Leathers Milligan.

Luciano says employees care more about a positive work environment where they are valued and have opportunities for promotion and professional development.

Phoenix advertising agency executive Scott Harkey backs that up.

He says he's hired eight employees in the last five months, many who left jobs in the same industry where they were unhappy.

"There's something about quality of life, having a family life and work life that employers who are able to hone in on that are going to find some really good people," Harkey says.

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