Arizona continues to stand out for new businesses

Arizona continues its rise as one of the top states in the country to start a business or expand one already up and running. In its annual state-by-state breakdown report, cable news station CNBC hoisted Arizona at the number 20 spot overall (tied with South Dakota), a six-position bump from last year’s report. From startups to additional offices being opened by globally recognized companies, such as Oracle opening a new wing at SkySong, Arizona is shaping itself into an increasingly attractive business destination.

While 20th out of 50 may not be as high on the list as some might like it to be, it does show the attention Arizona is getting in the world of not only local business, but national business. In particular, CNBC recognized Arizona’s workforce ranking as #8 in the nation, steps ahead of California and New York. The study rated all 50 states in 60 different measures of competitiveness and separated them into 10 categories. Arizona hit in the top 20 for six of the categories, including its top-10 mark for available workforce.

Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, which means more available workers ready to tackle new jobs and economic opportunities. According to its own report earlier this year, USA Today landed Arizona at #8 on its list of growing states in terms of population. Arizona’s population grew by 1.7 percent in 2016, more than twice the national average.  This growth is due in part to new employment opportunities that have brought people in from not only different areas of the country, but the world. What’s more, Arizona saw an unemployment drop from 6 percent to 5.3 percent, one of the largest drops of any state.

“Arizona has ranked in the top 10 on lists produced by other outlets, but I’m glad we’re gaining ground here,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesperson Garrick Taylor said. “We’re making the right policy moves to make Arizona more competitive, more attractive to job creators.”

More than 160,000 private sector jobs have been created in the state in the last three years and around 300 companies have either relocated or expanded here, a momentum that is getting recognition from industry know-hows. For CNBC’s study, “workforce” took into account measures such as availability of employees, concentration of STEM workers–a growing focus in the state–productivity, and education levels.

CNBC heralded Arizona for its expanding workforce and boom in construction, noting that entry-level roles are just as prevalent as enviable tech-driven positions. The state’s economy saw a nice bump as well, going from 18th on the list to 10th, ahead of California, Oregon and Virginia. Topping the study was Texas, a state with unmatched momentum, especially for infrastructure, economy and access to capital, three categories it headed up.

Nick Esquer

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