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Arizona economy stable, but not promising

This time last year, the U.S. economy recovered all of its lost jobs after the “Great Recession.”

But, Arizona has recovered only 80 percent of all those lost jobs according to W.P. Carey Business School’s Lee McPheters.

“Some of the industries that are doing well are also the industries that pay pretty well,” he said. Those industries typically include finance positions, where Arizona ranks sixth in the nation, and health care jobs, where the state ranks eighth.

However, McPheters said, it’s the “other services” division where Arizona tops the list. “Those include consumer service jobs,” which pay less, “like dry cleaning, massage services, barbershops, and auto repair mechanics.”

Right now, those jobs in Arizona are far outpacing the country with eight-percent job growth.

Even though the U.S. economy as a whole had a lousy first quarter, McPheters said, “it’s expected to get better… and we’ll have growth for the year as a whole, somewhat close to 3 percent.”

Gross Domestic Product growth between two to four percent is usually a healthy economic indicator by many analytic standards.

Growth aside, McPheters and other analysts are concerned Arizona’s population growth and the trend toward lower paying jobs — compounded by a lack of support for education — may amount to harder times ahead in the long run for Arizona.