Phoenix ranks seventh in new jobs, but employment growth still slow

March 21, 2012

The number of jobs in the Phoenix area grew by almost 2 percent in 2010. The Valley ranked seventh nationally for large metro areas. But as KJZZ’s Paul Atkinson reports from Phoenix, job growth is still far behind normal levels.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show Arizona added 24,000 jobs from January 2010 to January 2011. Most were in the health care, transportation, and leisure industries. But Arizona lost more than 300,000 jobs during the recession. The collapse of an overpriced housing market led to huge job losses in the construction industry that trickled down from there. 

“You know we lost jobs for three consecutive years,” says ASU economist Lee McPheters. He says the number of new jobs will return to past levels when the state’s population increases by two to three percent a year.

“When you get that kind of growth, those people need housing,” says McPheters. “That housing then generates a need for commercial, retail, and so forth. That element is just missing. People are still not moving to Arizona in large numbers right now.”

McPheters says the latest projections show the state could add 45,000 new jobs this year -- about half the job growth rate prior to the recession.

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