Like all Americans, Arizonans are focused on the national economy with sharp eyes on the outlook for job creation, tax policy, and the prospects for overall growth. But their real focus is here at home where they closely watch the prospects for economic recovery.
Following the financial collapse of 2008, Arizona was hit hard. With the state’s reliance on construction, real estate, manufacturing, and retail trade, Arizona lost 300,000 jobs. It will take up to three years to match the all-time record employment high set in 2007 before the recession.
We are fortunate that unlike the tepid response from Washington, state government led by Republicans has responded to the economic crisis and paved the way for solid growth. Without this leadership, Arizona would be floundering. Though the road to full pre-recession conditions is long and vulnerable to periodic setbacks, the state is on a clear path to recovery.
A recent survey of the state of Arizona’s economy shows positive signs of improvement over the long term. Consider these facts compiled in June by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Arizona’s economy is forecast to continue to speed up
- The job market is on the mend
- Home building appears to be stabilizing
- Financial stresses are receding in the business community
- Inflated real estate conditions have been corrected
The report concluded that Arizona’s economy is improving gradually and expanded faster than the national economy last year. The state’s economy is forecast to match the national economy’s pace this year and next.
Economic research conducted at the University of Arizona shows a distinct bright spot in Arizona’s housing market. The research shows that housing prices across the state are headed upward. Homeowner equity is improving while foreclosures are declining.
One report notes that Arizona’s steady but slow recovery is clearly affected by the number of people moving into the state for jobs. Before the recession, the state’s population grew by two to three percent every year. Then the rate of growth fell below one percent. Improved economic conditions should reignite the influx of people from all over the country who seek good jobs and the overall benefits of the state’s quality of life.
Republican leadership in the state legislature has advanced policies designed to grow the economy. The cornerstone of this effort was passage of a balanced budget throughout 2014 and financial reserves to improve the state’s credit rating. These measures bolster the state’s business climate, the only reliable route to stable job creation.
State GOP leaders took other steps to shore up the state’s economy. Republican leaders rejected phony budget gimmicks while maintaining support for education, public safety, transportation and healthcare. At the same time, they created a “rainy day fund” as a buffer against unforeseen setbacks.
Arizona’s economy is on the mend. Nevertheless, it will take time to recover from the severe shock of 2008. Arizonans are fortunate to have strong Republican leadership at the top of state government to assure that fiscal responsibility is the foundation of overall recovery.