Arizona economy figures to keep slow gains in 2015


New reports show that this year figures to be Arizona’s best economic year since the Great Recession, economists said Wednesday. Unfortunately, other states can expect to do even better. Arizona has slipped to 41st in the nation in annual personal income, and job growth remains well below historic averages, said Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “2015 is going to be the best year yet for this recovery,” McPheters said before ASU’s outlook presentation to the Economic Club of Phoenix. “Other states are doing remarkably well, and they’re doing remarkably well across the board.” By contrast, 99 percent of the jobs Arizona added in the past year were in service industries, McPheters said. Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at ASU, said home values should head higher, in part because of tighter housing supply. Especially among the lowest-priced segment of the market, housing is very tight, with many renters looking to buy, he said. That is pushing up home prices but still not doing much to spur builders to focus on affordable-home construction, chiefly because luxury homes remain more profitable, he said. “The areas that are most affordable are becoming less affordable quite quickly,” Orr said. “We’re well supplied with expensive rentals but we have very few building for homes that are, say, $200,000 or less.” McPheters said 85 percent of Arizona’s new jobs are in the Phoenix area, pointing to an uneven recovery in the state. Overall, the state has regained about 78 percent of the jobs it had before the 2007 recession. It’s still down about 68,000 jobs, which is slightly more than the 65,000 the state figures to add this year, he said. Arizona was sixth in population growth nationally in 2014, but at 1.5 percent, the growth is well below levels seen a decade ago. McPheters expects 1.7 percent this year. Here is the link to the entire article: