“You can’t be late until you show up.”
Russ Wiles, The Republic | azcentral.com 10:23 p.m. MST February 16, 2015
- Arizona and the U.S. likely grew at about the same economic pace in 2014, but the state could start to separate itself with faster growth this year, according to a new forecast.
- Arizona continues to benefit from relatively strong population growth and a strengthening employment market. But low-paying jobs are a problem, said a repo
- Arizona’s economy, which grew in line with the nation last year, could perk up with a faster pace of expansion in 2015, according to new forecasts.
- Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, sees Arizona’s economy advancing 3.5 percent in 2015, beating expected U.S. growth of 3.1 percent. Both the state and the nation grew at around 2.5 percent last year, BMO estimates, with final numbers still not in.
- “The ongoing housing-market recovery, sturdy population growth and exposure to a wide range of high-tech manufacturing should help improve a labor market that still faces some areas of weakness,” the report, issued Feb. 13, said of Arizona. BMO sees statewide housing starts rising from about 26,000 in 2014 to 35,000 both this year and next.
- Economists at Wells Fargo Securities, in a late-January report, noted signs of economic momentum for Arizona. Job gains have been broad-based, the federal sector is growing again in Arizona and more people are moving to the state, economists Mark Vitner and Michael Wolf wrote.
- Population inflows “should help breathe new life into the housing market, particularly since investor buyers have pulled back now that fewer bargain-priced foreclosures are available,” they wrote.
- While’s Arizona’s annual population growth of 1.3 percent is higher than that of most other states, it still lags the 3 percent pace of a decade ago. Overall migration patterns between states is below average, hampering housing. “Arizona is one state that appears to be suffering as a result,” Kavcic’s report said.
- However, still-low interest rates and some loosening of underwriting standards could invigorate housing, he added. Also, Arizona is again outperforming in job growth, with payrolls expected to expand 2 percent this year and 2.2 percent in 2016 — both up from 1.8 percent in 2014.
- BMO sees Arizona’s unemployment rate dropping from an expected 7 percent average for all of 2014 to 6.5 percent this year and 5.8 percent in 2016.
- Most of Arizona’s job gains have been centered in lower-paying service industries, with manufacturing and construction employment lagging. Average weekly earnings in Arizona tumbled 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, the nation’s worst performance, according to the BMO report. That said, the company sees personal incomes improving in Arizona next year.
- According to Wells Fargo, Arizona has been gaining traction as a technology hub, with growth led by companies that develop applications for mobile-computer devices and those focused on big data and unmanned aircraft.
- A less-upbeat forecast was delivered last month by Tom Rex, an economist at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. In a report, he noted that the state is still recovering from the recession, which was longer and deeper than usual. Part of the problem is that few of the state’s key employment sectors are humming, with the exception of financial services.
- The state’s rebound has lagged not only that of the nation but Arizona’s historic norm, the report said. “I am not confident that growth will pick up substantially in 2015, but it is a possibility,” Rex said in an e-mail last week.
- Kavcic sees the U.S. economy advancing 3.1 percent next year from an estimated 2.4 percent in 2014. “Lower oil prices will provide a boost to consumer spending, while the labor market is churning out the strongest job growth since the late-1990s technology boom,” the report said, while cautioning that “the surging U.S. dollar will act as a drag on exports.”
- BMO concentrates its economic analysis on Arizona, Florida and six Midwestern states where the Toronto-based company has U.S. offices.
- Reach the reporter at email@example.com or 602-444-8616.
- Arizona’s economic trajectory
- Forecasts show continued growth in 2015.
|ANNUAL PERCENT CHANGE||2014||2015*||2016*|
|SEE IT ALL:http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/2015/02/17/arizonas-economy-poised-warm-reports-say/23534985/|
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