Job Creation Report

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Researchers at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business looked at the latest job statistics to determine which metro areas and states were the best job creators. Both Phoenix and Arizona ranked number nine on that list. Research Professor Lee McPheters will talk about his report.

TED SIMONS: RESEARCHERS LOOKED AT THE LATEST JOB STATISTICS TO DETERMINE THE TOP STATES AND METRO AREAS FOR JOB GROWTH. ARIZONA AND PHOENIX LINED UP ON THE LIST. FOR THE ANSWERS WE WELCOME THE MAN BEHIND THE STUDY. RESEARCH PROFESSOR, LEE MCPHETERS, GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

LEE MCPHETERS: GOOD TO SEE YOU.

TED SIMONS: THANKS FOR BEING HERE. HOW IS ARIZONA DOING NOW.

LEE MCPHETERS: WE'RE BACK IN THE TOP TEN. WE HAD SLIPPED OUT OF THE TOP TEN FOR THE PAST COUPLE YEARS, AND THIS YEAR THE FINAL NUMBERS FOR 2016 ARE FINALLY OUT, AND ARIZONA CAME IN REALLY IN A TIE WITH CALIFORNIA. AND SO WE'RE IN EIGHTH PLACE, AND PHOENIX AMONG METRO AREA WAS ALSO IN EIGHTH PLACE. SO RIGHT NOW THIS IS A TOP TEN ECONOMY.

TED SIMONS: IT'S BACK TO BEING A TOP TEN ECONOMY. HOW ABOUT HAS IT BEEN?

LEE MCPHETERS: WELL, IN TERMS OF THE RANKINGS IT'S ABOUT THREE YEARS. WE HAVE HAD PRETTY STEADY GROWTH OVER THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS, AND THE FACT THAT WE HAVE MOVED INTO THE TOP TEN IS PARTLY DUE TO SLOWING DOWN ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND ARIZONA IS JUST KIND OF STAYED CONSTANT. ABOUT TWO AND A HALF PERCENT JOB GROWTH, CRANKING OUT ABOUT 65,000, 68,000 NEW JOBS EVERY, AND YOU KNOW, VERY SOLID SUSTAINABLE GROWTH BUT NOT SPECTACULAR.

TED SIMONS: WHAT I FOUND INTERESTING FROM THE LIST IS THAT SOME OF THE STATES ARE FROM THE WEST, THE OTHER THREE FROM THE SOUTHEAST. SEVEN FROM THE WEST AND WE'RE TIED FOR EIGHTH OR NINTH. THAT MEANS YOU HAVE UTAH, IDAHO, NEVADA, WASHINGTON, OREGON…ALL BETTER THAN ARIZONA, WHY?

LEE MCPHETERS: WELL, THIS IS THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW THAT UTAH HAS BEEN IN NUMBER 1. YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE STATES AND REALLY GO INDUSTRY BY INDUSTRY TO DETERMINE WHAT IS DRIVING THE ECONOMY, AND BASICALLY WHAT DRIVES ANY STATE'S GROWTH IS WHATEVER ACTIVITY IS BRINGING IN OUTSIDE DOLLARS. AND TYPICALLY FOR ARIZONA, THAT WOULD BE HIGH-TECH MANUFACTURING, IT WOULD BE MINING, OF COURSE, TOURISM IS IMPORTANT. AND WHAT WE ARE SEEING WHEN WE LOOK AT UTAH, FOR EXAMPLE, WE ARE SEEING THAT INFORMATION SYSTEMS ARE STRONG, HEALTH CARE IS STRONG, AND YOU MIGHT SAY WELL, HOW CAN HEALTH CARE BE A DRIVER WITH OUTSIDE DOLLARS BUT WHAT ALL OF THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT THE AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT, MEDICARE DISTRIBUTION TO THE STATES AND REALLY THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH CARE IS THE DRIVER OF GROWTH. SO ALL OF THESE STRONG GROWING STATE ECONOMIES REALLY HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON. RIGHT NOW, THEY'RE DRIVEN BY THE SERVICE SECTOR WHETHER THAT BE HEALTH CARE, WHETHER THAT BE INFORMATION SYSTEMS, WHETHER IT BE BUSINESS SERVICES. THAT'S WHERE THE ECONOMY IS RIGHT NOW.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE METRO AREA, TWO FROM CALIFORNIA, TWO FROM FLORIDA, TWO FROM TEXAS, AND THERE WE ARE. WHY CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA AND TEXAS?

LEE MCPHETERS: WELL, YOU CAN PROBABLY WRITE THIS LIST YOURSELF IF YOU THOUGHT ABOUT IT. AUSTIN IS NUMBER TWO AMONG METROPOLITAN AREAS IN TERMS OF JOB GROWTH. FLORIDA, WELL REPRESENTED. THAT'S AN ECONOMY THAT IS DRIVEN BY PEOPLE MOVING THERE. ARREST IS VERY MUCH AN ECONOMY LIKE THAT, SO WE DEPEND ON POPULATION GROWTH, OUR POPULATION GROWTH IS NOT THE THREE, THREE AND A HALF PERCENT THAT WE'VE SEEN IN PAST YEARS, IT'S MORE LIKE ONE AND A HALF PERCENT BUT THAT'S STILL TWICE AS GOOD AS THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. SO WHAT IS DRIVING ARIZONA IS A SOMEWHAT SLOWER RATE OF POPULATION GROWTH, NOT SO MUCH MANUFACTURING BUT AGAIN OUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE SERVICES, HEALTH CARE, AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE OTHER STATES THE QUESTION, WHY ARE THEY DOING BETTER, THE COMMON DENOMINATOR THERE IS CONSTRUCTION. EVEN THOUGH CONSTRUCTION IS GROWING IN ARIZONA, ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE PERCENT, IT'S GROWING SEVEN, EIGHTY, NINE PERCENT IN SOME OF OUR NEIGHBORING STATES LIKE NEVADA.

TED SIMONS: SAME SCHEMATICS FOR PHOENIX?

LEE MCPHETERS: YES, PHOENIX IS ACCOUNTING FOR 85 PERCENT OF THE NEW JOBS IN ARIZONA. SO THERE'S ONE STATISTICS THAT YOU CAN HANG YOUR HAT ON. THE REST OF THE STATE IS JUST NOT GROWING FAST ENOUGH TO REALLY CONTRIBUTE THAT EXTRA ONE PERCENT THAT WOULD PROPEL ARIZONA INTO THE TOP FIVE.

TED SIMONS: ARE THERE LESSONS THAT PHOENIX CAN LEARN, OR AND PHOENIX JUST A DIFFERENT BEAST THAN THESE OTHER CITIES?

LEE MCPHETERS: WELL, SAN FRANCISCO IN PARTICULAR, AUSTIN, AGAIN, BOTH OF THOSE AREAS ARE DRIVEN A LOT BY THIS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AND SO FORTH. HERE IN ARIZONA WE'RE A LITTLE DIFFERENT. WE HAVE THE DATA CENTERS. WE HAVE BACK OFFICE OPERATIONS FOR MAJOR NATIONAL FIRMS AND THAT IS WHAT BRINGS IN THE OUTSIDE DOLLARS HERE. BUT I THINK THAT THE DIFFERENCE IS WHEN YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THE ECONOMIES THAT ARE REALLY DOING BETTER, THE SECRET INGREDIENT THERE I THINK REALLY IS CONSTRUCTION AND THAT HAS LEVELED OUT HERE.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU SEE ARIZONA OR PHOENIX MOVING UP?

LEE MCPHETERS: NO, I THINK SO WE'RE ON A VERY STEADY COURSE. JUST LIKE THE NATIONAL ECONOMY. YOU CAN SAY IT'S GOING TO BE 2.3 PERCENT, MAYBE 2.4 PERCENT GDP. ARIZONA IS GOING TO BE ABOUT TWO AND A HALF PERCENT JOB GROWTH. WE'RE GOING TO STAY THERE. IF THE REST OF THE NATION SLOWS DOWN, THAT WILL MOVE US UP, BUT I THINK IT'S A GOOD BET THAT WE'LL ADD ABOUT 68,000 JOBS NEXT YEAR, GROW ABOUT TWO AND A HALF PERCENT, AND I THINK BE VERY RESPECTABLE AND SUSTAINABLE.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT. GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE.

LEE MCPHETERS: GOOD TO SEE YOU, TED.

TED SIMONS: ON THURSDAY CONGRESS IS SOCIETY TO VOTE ON A REPLACEMENT FOR THE AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT. THAT'S ON THE NEXT ARIZONA HORIZON. THAT IS IT FOR NOW. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

Research Professor Lee McPheters

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