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Arizona’s future economy bleak, according to ASU president Michael Crow

Arizona State president Michael Crow, president of the Pac-10 CEO Group, talks about the splitting of football divisions during a news conference in San Francisco, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010. Colorado and Utah recently accepted invitations to join the Pac-10 in the conference's first expansion since 1978, necessitating many changes for when the league becomes a 12-team conference next July 1. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

AHWATUKEE — Speaking to attendees at the East Valley Partnership’s annual economic outlook presentation, Arizona State University president Michael Crow said the state is underprepared for the disruption technology will bring to the economy and society in the next 20 years.

As reported by the Ahwatukee Foothills news, Crow told those in attendance of a conversation he had with an executive with Google X, who said technology will replace 30 percent of all current jobs within the next 10 years. He added that of those job losses, the most vulnerable in Arizona are workers with only a high school diploma.

“We are one of the most vulnerable states for the technological replacement of jobs,” Crow said, noting that Wal-Mart — one of the state’s biggest employers of people with only a high school diploma or less — will soon have robots taking packages to customers’ cars.

Crow also presented a dim outlook on the Arizona economy using graphs from information provided from the U.S. Census updates and other government and foundation studies. He said that Arizona’s gross domestic product in 2015 was $265 billion or $10 billion less than it was nine years ago, and added that it would not likely improve given that real estate and government are the state’s two largest sources of economic output.

He added that the state’s GDP has steadily fallen since 2007 and hit a 15-year low in 2015, while per capita personal income has steadily fallen since 1970 and was lower than Detroit.

Crow said that of western states, only New Mexico had a lower rate of individuals over 25 with a bachelor’s degree, while Colorado had the highest, followed by Washington and California.

“College graduates come here to retire, not to work,” Crow said, noting that Arizona is the second-lowest state in the nation for per-capita support of higher education. New Hampshire is at the bottom.