Phoenix boasts third-fastest growing economy

One thing Arizona can continuously hang its hat on is a booming economy, and for the third quarter of 2018 things were no different. According to recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Arizona boasted the third-fastest growing economy in the United States, only behind Utah and Washington.

The data, released the first week of this month, showed Arizona’s gross domestic product (GDP) outpacing the national average, 4.3 percent versus. 3.4 percent. This mark outpaced highly competitive states such as California, Texas, Georgia and Colorado, all known for their dependable and consistently fast-paced economies. Much of the economic growth came from the financial and business services, health care and manufacturing sectors.

Health care, manufacturing and the financial services are all solidly growing industries that can still move forward even during a recession. Also, areas such as technology and bioscience, which have boosted the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, are acting as major drivers for the economy and will continue to do so heading into the new decade, especially as they add more jobs.

“These are the areas where we have good workforce. What’s happened since 2009-2010 is that we’ve built up these employment clusters and that’s the number one attraction for businesses here,” said Eric Jay Toll from the city of Phoenix Community and Economic Development department.

In another recent report from CBRE, Tempe and Phoenix landed high when it comes to real estate development for tech companies moving to or starting up in Arizona. The report highlighted big moves from companies like Oracle, Microsoft, and Amazon all buying up land or opening up new offices in the area as well as shedding some light on the startup culture that continues to burn bright in the state’s tech industry.

“Ninety percent of our companies have fewer than 100 employees, so any increase has a big impact,” Toll said.  “Phoenix had the second-highest number of jobs created by startups and small businesses in the recent paychecks report.”

Jobs will continue to be a major factor in boosting the state’s economy heading into the new decade as well. Recently, the Wall Street Journal posted data in 53 major U.S. markets, putting the greater Phoenix area at number 16 on the list for job growth in the country. The national average is hitting around 1.6 percent for job growth, year over year, but for Phoenix it’s more than double at 3.3 percent. With a labor force growth at 2.6 percent, Arizona is poised to have more and more available workers to fill spots in everything from tech to health care to the financial services markets.

“In 2007, over half the workforce was in construction, real estate, retail and hospitality. Those sectors are highly volatile because they’re dependent on consumer spending. Now, 62 percent of the workforce is working in advanced industries such as tech, bioscience, manufacturing, for example,” Toll said.

Nick Esquer

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