According to Economic and Business Research director Marshall Vest, the economy is being propelled by strong employment growth in its two largest metro areas. In recent months, metro Tucson has led the nation as the fastest-growing metro area. Phoenix-Mesa continues as the perennial second-fastest large metro economy.
- Arizona's manufacturing sector is growing again with nearly 4,500 jobs added during the past year (1.5 percent growth). Half of the new manufacturing jobs werein the Tucson area, where aerospace, instruments, and optics continued to expand rapidly.
- Consumer spending, as measured by retail sales, continued very strong, up 10.5 percent on an over-the-year basis. Restaurant and bar sales were up a strong 9.1percent, rivaling the strongest readings registered during the entire decade of the 1990's.
- Arizona's economy should continue to pace the nation through the rest of this year. Vest expects to see gains of 8.3 percent for personal income, 8-8.5percent for retail sales, employment growth of 4.4percent, and slightly lower but near last year's record levels for homebuilding. Next year promises continued expansion, but at a slower pace.
Over the next five years, Arizona's population should swell by 630,000. By the year 2025, Arizona will be home to some 8.3 million people, compared to five million today. Phoenix will account for 5.4 million and Tucson 1.3 million. In 2025, Arizona will have roughly as many people as today's North Carolina and Georgia (the nation's 10th and 11th largest). Phoenix will compare to today's Detroit and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas.
The entire forecast article is contained in the October issue of Arizona's Economy newsletter, available from EBR's new web site at http://ebr.eller.arizona.edu.