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Expert predicts Phoenix and Tucson will have growing economies in 2017

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

PHOENIX — An Arizona economist thinks that Phoenix’s economic future looks bright heading into the new year.

George W. Hammond is the Director of the Eller Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona. He thinks that 2017 will be a good year economically for Phoenix.

“Phoenix will grow a bit faster over the next couple of years. In part, (the growth will be) driven by sustained U.S. growth. Increased residential mobility across the U.S. will also benefit the Phoenix metro area,” Hammond said.

“Overall, the outlook is certainly positive for Phoenix. It’s going to be the fastest growing region of the state, and will really drive overall state results going forward.”

Hammond also thinks Tucson will continue to grow and add jobs at a faster pace. He said that something that had been hampering that southern Arizona city is disappearing.

“Major federal fiscal drag related to the sequester and other budget cuts (are disappearing),” Hammond said. “Those impacts really slowed Tucson from 2013 to 2015, but now those seem to be over and we’re picking up some steam. I think there’s even the chance, with the new administration, that we’ll see somewhat stronger overall federal spending on defense and border security, and that would help Tucson grow faster as well.”

One area of concern is the value of the Mexican Peso. It’s down against the U.S. Dollar and Hammond said that appears to be affecting Arizona’s economy.

“Arizona’s exports to Mexico are down just over 10 percent so far this year compared to last year, and we’ve also seen what looks like a decline in Mexican visitors coming to Arizona to shop and to vacation here,” Hammond said.

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