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Economist points to employment numbers as good sign for Arizona

PHOENIX — Valley-based economist Jim Rounds said Arizona’s employment numbers were good but wage growth was moderate and there was room for improvement.

“It’s not good compared with how we used to grow more than a decade ago (2004-2006) but compared to the rest of the country, we’re doing just fine,” Rounds said.

“I’d rather see employment growth at 4 percent instead of 3. I’d like to see other parts of the state beyond the greater Phoenix area doing well.

“Given the nature of this expansion, we’re still holding our own. We’re still top 10 nationally for growth across the state.”

Rounds, president of Rounds Consulting Group in Tempe, said the downturn in 2008 hit Arizona particularly hard with job losses and home prices plummeting.

Going forward, though, the economic analyst said he believed the state will outperform the rest of the country.

“The greater Phoenix area is doing great at creating some high wage jobs right now,” he said.

“I think we should be happy with the growth even though it doesn’t feel the same as prior expansions. The next business cycle will feel more like a typical Arizona business cycle.

“We’ll see stronger growth then. We just have to wait it out.”

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