According to the BMO Capital Markets Economics State Monitor, Arizona’s economy had a 4.2 percent year-over-year increase during the first quarter of the year – this marks its fastest growth rate since 2007.
The report also notes that of the ten states BMO monitors closely, Arizona is one of just three projected to beat the national average of economic growth (3.4 percent compared to 2.8 percent).
The manufacturing sector largely fueled the economic development, as the industry saw its output jump 8.5 percent year-over-year. In fact, the report notes that 19 of 20 industries, which cover 98 percent of the economy, all progressed in the first quarter of the year.
Moreover, jobs also soared in the first half of 2018, as the state created 63,700 net new jobs. The industries leading the charge included construction, food services, and healthcare, which generated 15,000, 10,200, and 8,900 jobs, respectively.
Rounds Consulting Group President Jim Rounds attributes the growth largely to public policy changes in Arizona. He highlights regulatory changes as one of the main areas of improvement, noting companies like TuSimple, that can now test and develop their technology with fewer hurdles.
“Some of the best work I’ve seen comes out of GPEC and Chris Camacho, as well as the ACA and the Governor’s Office,” Rounds stated. “Even at the city and county levels, people have been sensitive about how the economy works. Now, people want to hear more about [economics] – this shows that people understand the economy and want to improve it.”
Rounds also points to small businesses as drivers of economic growth. Local leaders in recent years have focused on creating an environment that fosters small business creation and expansion.
Further, he emphasizes the importance of preserving sound fiscal policies in order to continue the current economic trajectory. “Very minimal changes in our rate of growth, our ability to recruit businesses, and our encouragement of people to start new businesses will result in tens of thousands of lost jobs over a 10-year period,” Rounds notes. “We’re talking billions of dollars lost in state economic revenue. This is one of the most important things that needs to be emphasized moving forward.”