Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

MJLO

What are Arizona's Economic driving factors?

58 posts in this topic

What Drives Arizona's economy? Since living here the only thing I can tell is New building construction, and Tourism. AZ seems to be heavy in the service industries. That's not all bad, they describe service economies as self sustaining. But It doesn't seem that there is a real driving force in AZ's economy. No Major Companies here. Alot of companies have big presences but they all perform non essential services. For instance, what made the city of Tucson? What drives it's growth today? Where I come from, certain manufacturing industries popped up all over driving early growth, and now those places are home to the massive brain capitol that keeps those industries afloat. What about here, What makes AZ unique giving it an unusually strong economy. From what I can see, If the construction slows down. AZ could be in a world of hurt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Two things traditionally drive Arizona's housing market: retirees, and people relocating here by choice (usually from the Midwest or California).

As for the economy, tourism is certainly vital, but three of the top employers in Tucson are the University (#1), Raytheon (#3 or 4) and the military (Davis-Monthan AFB).

In Phoenix, a lot of Silicon Valley companies have either set up firms in the Valley or have completely moved. Intel and Intuit have always been the big IT employers and Go Daddy is hq'ed in Tempe. Otherwise you've got America West (also US Airways now), ASU, the Salt River Project, Honeywell and Basha's.

The government (be it federal, state, county or city) is always the larger employer in both Phoenix and Tucson, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I have researched all this. I have also heard of Phelps Dodge which is located downtown PHX. But what I don't see is a core industry. What caused this explosive growth in Arizona over the past thirty five or so years? Sky Harbor employs over 25,000 people, and contributes more money to the valleys economy, than the entire GSP of some states. But why are people moving here? What causes people to relocate here by choice, It cant be the 110 degree summer heat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see your point but it does seem a lot of people move there because of the warm climate. I admit I haven't gotten to experiance the 110-120 heat. But it doesn't seem to be the place I'd personally think to go. But it seems like I hear a lot of people moving there because of the climate. Although I think people are thinking more about the warm winters than the hot summers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But why are people moving here? What causes people to relocate here by choice, It cant be the 110 degree summer heat.

i think it may be. part of it, at least where retirees are concerned, is the saturation of first-generation retirement markets, largely along the atlantic coast of florida. there's simply no more open development-friendly shoreline areas along the yankee coast for people to move to. so sun seekers have to go somewhere.

i read something a few weeks back about phoenix's pro-growth residential development policies being a big factor in its boom. wish i knew more about that. but my wife and i ask each other a version of this question all the time - why phoenix, and not the more heat-tolerable albuquerque or flagstaff or SLC (or any number of other nice places in the wide open west)? policy has to have something to do with it.

in general, though, i think the next wave of crisis-generating growth will be in the desert / mountain west. there and the deep south. there's a lot of west that is beautiful and pleasant, and people are going to want that - especially as suburban places in the east - as well as in coastal california - begin to decay at a faster rate (east coast) or shut out low and moderate incomes (CA).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

without question alot of people have moved here, and continue to in droves, where are these people working what are these people doing. It's so weird to see, I work as mid level management in the service industry, we can't find enough people to fill entry level, and even management level jobs. And still people move here everyday, it's an economic model i'm not sure I understand.

I agree completely about a growth crisis, so many people living in an area, where life sustaining resources are scarce and have to be imported from sometimes hundreds of miles away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the heat is not that bad. it's bad if you break down in a car on a two-lane road 50 miles from a service station and have no cell phone signal. then you have to start worrying not about getting hot, but about drying out before you can get to water.

as comfort goes, a 100-degree day in the AZ or CA desert is FAR better than a muggy 85-degree day in the deep south. shade will get you some relief in the dry desert heat. shade does nothing for the humid southern summers. the heat out here is pleasant and generally tolerable, imho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you, I also come from a place with intolerable humidity, what the Southern heat and Humidity, as well as other like places have to offer, is an unstable atmosphere. This produces thunderstorms which produces rain lightening and carnage. I know AZ has a monsoon season but three weeks a year, of violent weather is not enough for me. I need months of Tree snapping, power killing, roof ripping carnage. It may sound crazy, but that kind of weather I love. AZ sunny today, sunny tommorrow depresses me and makes me homesick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Yeah I certainly don't enjoy the humid summers where I live either. But if I was going to move west I still think I'd go somewhere a little bit cooler. I think Flagstaff has temps closer to what I'm looking for. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

are you thinking of moving to AZ Mith? What are your observations on the state of the economy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

are you thinking of moving to AZ Mith? What are your observations on the state of the economy?

No, I don't have any plans to move. I am not a big fan of the summers here but I do like northwest Arkansas. But I do visit out west a lot because I have some family in New Mexico. I hadn't thought much about the state of the economy until I say this topic. Now that you mention it I don't recall any big companies and such out of AZ. There's a lot of service industry growth where I live as well but it's because of Wal-mart and all the vendors dealing with Wal-mart moving into the area. I'm really not sure what's driving it there in AZ aside from just the fact that a lot of people seem to be moving to that area. I often hear a lot about how a lot of Californians are moving out because it's gotten so expensive to live there, especially southern California. We even have quite a few Californians that have moved here to Fayetteville. I would think that the effect would be a lot stronger there considering how much closer you are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I lived in Houston for many years, and the heat here is much more tolerable. 100+ is fine, but 100+ with 70% or greater humidity is not. Plus, I hated not being able to leave my windows open at night because of the bugs.

I do miss the rain though. Those wild storms that would come in where you thought a tree would fall on you. Or even those gray days in the winter and driving down to the beach. It's still better here though, I think.

The whole thing with Arizona weather that I like is the choice: if it gets crazy hot and you can't take it anymore, you can always drive 1-2 hours and it'll be 20-30 degrees cooler.

Flagstaff is nice, but you have to live with the snow in the winter, which can get pretty bad. I'd much rather be able to drive to the snow and then drive back to the nice, dry, mild basin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I lived in Michigan for 25 years, snow does not intimidate me, bring it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Granted I don't live where winter is very bad, but cold winter weather doesn't seem to bother me too much. Although it I was ever to move out west I imagine it would be more likely to New Mexico since I have family there. But then I could visit AZ much more often. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do miss the rain though. Those wild storms that would come in where you thought a tree would fall on you. Or even those gray days in the winter and driving down to the beach. It's still better here though, I think.

The whole thing with Arizona weather that I like is the choice: if it gets crazy hot and you can't take it anymore, you can always drive 1-2 hours and it'll be 20-30 degrees cooler.

Flagstaff is nice, but you have to live with the snow in the winter, which can get pretty bad.

absolutely. i've gotten a little homesick for tornado alley and the instability of late spring - late fall. during one of the 2004 hurricanes (i think it was ivan) a huge tree fell within 10 feet of our little cottage apt. on red mountain. birmingham is statistically one of the rainiest cities in the u.s. (a mind-blower for me, having lived there all my life and learning of the stats only recently)...but, tucson has its share of similar stormy weather - it's just that much of the precipitation never makes it to the ground. the dark cloudy days and dust storms (from afar, anyway) are wonderful. i can handle low rainfall here (i think the YTD in tucson is less than two inches this year.)

flagstaff, statistically, is one of the snowiest cities in the u.s. all the flagstaff chamber of commerce PR hypes the four distinct seasons in the area - and i admit, i've never been in flagstaff when it isn't beautiful - but i'm stoked to think that i live somewhere where i can visit such varied elevations - and thus varied weather - so nearby. i don't like the idea of i-40 being closed on a routine basis every year because of the snow, so flagstaff's out for me. from tucson, a short jaunt (by my standards, i guess) gets me to the mojave; the chihuahan desert in southern new mexico; and flagstaff. three very distinct environments, with many more in the spaces between.

i guess the AZ climate and stable geology are as much economic drivers as pre-existing industry for individuals looking to relocate somewhere pleasant. it certainly has a lot to do with my being here. i prefer low income and natural beauty to job growth and a stifling urge to escape my bland surroundings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I can tell you, I also come from a place with intolerable humidity, what the Southern heat and Humidity, as well as other like places have to offer, is an unstable atmosphere. This produces thunderstorms which produces rain lightening and carnage. I know AZ has a monsoon season but three weeks a year, of violent weather is not enough for me. I need months of Tree snapping, power killing, roof ripping carnage. It may sound crazy, but that kind of weather I love. AZ sunny today, sunny tommorrow depresses me and makes me homesick.

Like this storm that ripped through yesterday MJLO:

http://www.woodtv.com/Global/link.asp?L=110852

(top left has photos from yesterday)

It took my portable gazebo in the backyard and made a pretzel out of it. :lol: It doesn't get as bad as tornado alley around here though.

Here's a shot I got from my backyard looking North at the back end of the storm. Those bushy things at the bottom of the photo are called "trees".

157337132_e70f7bf7d9_b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just read an article online, confirming what I had said. There are no major companies headquartered here. And while there have been some to invest and employ, ie Intel. Arizona's economy is driven by Growth industries themselves. What that means basically is that There is so much construction goin on in Arizona right now, that it accounts for about one quarter of our workforce. Experts warn that we are nearing the end of our construction and housing boom, and without an educated work force, AZ is headed for a slump. The state ranked 5 from the bottom among states, in a study about it's readiness for education. AZ stays towards the bottom in income growth and per capita income. Do you think the state can diversify? The growth sector has powered the states economy for so long, what happens when construction trends down? What will so many people do?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not worth its own topic, so i put it here:

oro valley is being wooed by the state to annex 45 square miles, which would more than double its present area. not a lot of space; i'm kinda surpsried the town is currently only 34 sq. miles. the city would be annexing 32 square miles in pinal county, and 13 in pima. not a done deal (yet).

http://www.azstarnet.com/dailystar/dailystar/133719

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are the benefits of Anexation? I don't know what it does out here. I can think of a million reasons back east. But laws are different and land has been developed for more than a hundred years and much longer in some cases. But what is the case for it? Help me out here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are the benefits of Anexation?

Ah-ha!

In Arizona, a big ol' pot of money from the state is distributed to local city governments based on population.

If a city annexes land in advance, it will still own that land when people move in. Therefore, it will eventually have a larger population and thus get more money from the state.

Marana and Oro Valley have been fighting each other for years with this. It's also one reason why Marana extends all the way to Pinal County despite there being relatively nothing out there.

In the Valley, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert have been really ridiculous about this. Take a look at a political map of the area if you get a chance. Gilbert's land is especially interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mesa is only 128 sq mi, Compared to the other cities in the valley it's pretty avg. Scottsdale, however is flippin huge! Twice as much land area, with half as many people. To me Scottsdale is the embodiment of sprawl and suburbia. Add to that, the fact that they refuse to participate in any form of mass transit, and it seems like the antithesis of responsible urban planning. I understand why you dog on the valley, but everything I learn about Scottsdale, coupled with having to go there for work everynow and then, really makes me dislike the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not necessarily dogging on the Valley. But it's one of the few places where that sort of mass annexation can occur. Tucson just has so few surrounding incorporated communities.

I looked on the map last night, specifically at the West Valley. Holy crap! Surprise goes all the way to the Yavapai County Line and Goodyear goes south into the Estrellas. Peoria is also supposed to be the fourth largest city in the state in land area.

Scottsdale is certainly enormous, but at least it's a rectangle and makes sense. Plus, they don't have much place to go after this as they're boxed in by other cities, an Indian Reservation and a national forest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I agree it's good that they can't make more Scottsdale, but the cities going to be built out at a much much smaller population than it should be. There's not much good I can say about Scottsdale. I can't tell if the people who live there realize, that exclusive communities exist in every state accross this country. Some much much more exclusive. To me, Scottsdale is where people go when they are to poor to live in LA and strung out on credit. Ok sorry for the rant. I'd love to get some Scottsdale Forumers on here. Here there opinions on somethings. I need to learn to not interject my opinions all the time. Tell me guys, help me to appreciate Scottsdale more. I think I'll start a separate thread though, so I don't derail the economy thread anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the note of economics:

Ariz., Tucson jobless rates drop

http://www.azstarnet.com/business/133805

Down 0.1% from April. Not a huge drop, but considering the job losses, it's surprising that it didn't go up. There are a lot of open jobs out there, so it's possible that others just got filled.

Also note in the article that Prescott is #3 for job growth in the nation, while Yuma is #4, which I assume is mostly military and Border Patrol because why would a company move to Yuma??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.