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Arizona economy growing with higher-wage jobs, expert says

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – A Valley economist said Arizona will be in the top 10 in most economic categories, as the state continues to rebound from COVID-19 pandemic job losses.

Phoenix-based consultant Jim Rounds said two-thirds of the 300,000 jobs cut have been recovered and Arizona still recorded the third-highest job growth nationally in 2020.

“”Hopefully, things will continue to improve because the state’s economy is growing very well now compared with almost every other state,” Rounds told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

It was around this time last year that Arizona’s economy, one of the nation’s hottest, started going into a nosedive due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Weeks later more than 300,000 Arizona jobs were lost.

But now the state is adding more higher-wage jobs, Rounds said.

Just days ago, tech giant Intel announced that it was expanding its Chandler campus with a $20 billion investment, the largest in state history.

“We’re seeing a lot of big business deals closed,” Rounds said. “When you add high wage jobs it creates low- to middle-wage jobs, so you end up really adding to the employment base.”

But there’s one segment of the Arizona economy that is a concern after losing tens of thousands of jobs: hospitality, leisure and tourism.

“Most of the jobs we have left to recover are of the lower-paying variety. Those making less than $40,000 per year are those still struggling the most,” Rounds said.

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