Author Archives: Janet Perez

Janet Perez

About Janet Perez

Janet Perez was managing editor of community and tourism magazines for Gannett Pacific Publications. She has worked as a national news producer for Westwood One/Metro Source, a nationwide radio news network. She was also a reporter for the Phoenix Gazette, and a reporter and producer for CBS and Fox affiliates in El Paso, Texas and Phoenix. She started her career as a reporter at the Gannett paper The El Paso Times. Her work has been featured in such publications as The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

WESTMARC Logo - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

New WESTMARC President Leverages GPEC Experience To Benefit Organization

Michelle Rider, President and CEO, WESTMARCIn June, Michelle Rider was named WESTMARC president and CEO. On July 1, she officially replaced Jack Lunsford, who had held the post for seven years. For nine years, Rider has held key positions with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

How is the West Valley economy fairing compared to last year?

The West Valley still faces the challenge of having lost 300,000 jobs in recent years, as well as being affected by the housing bubble. It has also had several recent wins for its economy with the addition of companies such as Sub-Zero in Goodyear and Gestamp Solar Steel in Surprise.

What needs to be done to help the West Valley’s economy get back on track?

The West Valley has an opportunity to attract new quality employers. Bringing major employers in will create new jobs directly, but will also help provide a customer base for struggling small businesses. West Valley community mayors and councils aggressively compete for these opportunities.

How do you think your work at GPEC translates to your role at WESTMARC?

Everything I have done at GPEC translates in some way to leading WESTMARC. I have worked with many of the public and private sector leaders through GPEC on projects including fundraising, public policy and stakeholder engagement.

What new initiatives or policies will you implement for WESTMARC members?

We are developing a new strategic plan. I am fortunate that WESTMARC’s leadership (board and executive committee) is dedicated to prosperity in the West Valley. We look forward to creating a clear, measurable road map to guide the organization.

What sets the West Valley apart?

Most of the next decade’s growth projected for Greater Phoenix will occur here. We have the opportunity to define ourselves by leveraging and managing that growth to provide quality jobs.

Michelle Rider WESTMARC president and CEO

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

Arizona Economic Forecast 2011

Arizona’s Economic Recovery Remains Sluggish, But The Outlook Is Brighter

While the nation’s economy showed some significant signs of life in the first half of 2011, the state’s economy continues to bounce along the bottom. But forecasters at the Economic Club of Phoenix’s Annual Economic Outlook 2011 luncheon on May 5, said they are looking at a comparably stronger finish to the year, with growth continuing at a healthier pace leading up to 2015.

“Arizona job growth is still very weak. For the first quarter, the Arizona economy has added only 4,100 jobs over the first quarter of last year, so growth is well below one half of one percent,” said Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business in an interview before the luncheon. “The summer is not usually a strong period for job growth in Arizona, in fact the economy basically goes nearly flat. We are currently forecasting 1 percent job growth, or an increase of about 24,000 new jobs for the year.”

McPheters said that if Arizona has any hope of generating 1 percent job growth, the state and nation’s economies needed to get moving in the second half of the year.

“Current national forecasts are calling for improved job growth this year, but it will also tend to be weighted to the second half,” he said. “So, economy watchers have their fingers crossed that things will improve after summer.”

According McPheters’ forecast, in 2011 the nation will record 650,00 housing starts, an inflation rate of 2.6 percent, 2 million jobs created and GDP growth of 3.1 percent.

Here in Arizona, where the state once led national economic recoveries, it is now relying on growth in other parts of the country to rev up its financial engine.

“Arizona population growth depends as much on events outside Arizona as within the state,” McPheters said. “If Arizona job growth improves (and it has a long way to go), this would act as a ‘draw.’ But people have trouble moving if they cannot sell their house or if they cannot get the price they need. That is why we expect to see more young people move to the state, they will rent instead of buy and are less locked into a particular career path.”

This year, McPheters forecasts that Arizona job growth will only be 1 percent, with personal income rising 4 percent. Meanwhile, single-family home permits are expected to rise by just 10 percent and the population will increase by 1.5 percent. The forecast is only slightly better in 2012, with employment expected to be up 2 percent, a 30 percent increase in single-family home permits and a 1.8 percent rise in the number of people moving into the state.

Arizona Economic Forecast 2011

However, McPheters said, the state’s economy will continue an upward trajectory through 2015, with personal income rising 6.5 percent, the rate of job growth hitting 3.5 percent and a population increase of 2.5 percent. Single-family housing permits are expected to increase by 50 percent in 2013 (reflecting the current stasis in the residential home industry) before leveling off to a 20 percent growth rate in 2015.

Arizona Economic Forecast, Far Forecast, Arizona Recovers

In raw numbers, McPheters forecasts that between 2011 and 2015 the state will create 300,00 jobs, issue 112,500 single-family home permits, and see 665,000 new residents.

Arizona Forecast, Annual numberic change in employment

The state’s ongoing budget crisis has been one of the major factors in Arizona’s slow economic recovery.

“The effect of budget cut backs has been felt sharply by local governments,” McPheters said. “Their employment is down by 5,000 workers and is expected to decline more in the months ahead. Typically, we look to state and local government as a source of stability, not necessarily a growth sector. But current budget problems have changed all that.”

Not too long ago, Arizona enjoyed a substantial budget surplus. So, where did all the money go? Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute, succinctly illustrated the devastating effect the economic crash had on Arizona residents and, in turn, the state’s revenue.

  • The number of millionaires in Arizona dropped from 6,000 in 2006 to about 2,500 in 2009.
  • Taxes paid by millionaires dropped from more than $800 million in 2006 to under $300 million in 2009.
  • In 2006, the state’s 70,000 tax filers with incomes of $200,000 and above paid half of all taxes or $1.6 billion. In 2009, that same group of taxpayers shrank to under 50,000, paying about $550 million — less than 25 percent of the total taxes paid.
  • In addition, the state reduced tax rates by 10 percent after 2006.

 

When adjusted for inflation, the average amount of income tax collected from an Arizona resident dropped from about $1,650 in 2005 to about $1,050 in 2009. But even as fewer dollars come in, the state’s expenditures have remained relatively constant.

“Right now, the state’s expenditures represent about $425 per $10,000 of personal income in Arizona,” Hoff man said at the luncheon. “However, the state is only collecting about $300 per $10,000 of personal income. Obviously, that’s not sustainable.”

Hoffman did sound one bright note.

“The last couple of months have seen considerably robust retail sales, especially in the area of durable goods,” he said, adding that improved consumer confidence is fueling the recent growth.

That will certainly help the state government as it grapples with its budget crisis, but Hoffman also pointed out that the temporary sales tax increase will expire just as the economy is expanding and putting more pressure on public sector services. He added that state policymakers will face a “balancing act” during much of the next five years — especially in 2014. Part of the solution, Hoffman said, will involve streamlining the state’s expenses and raising taxes.

“Government just simply has to be more efficient in it’s expenditures,” he said. “(And) we have to ask everyone to contribute according to their means.”

To read more, visit knowledge.wpcarey.asu.edu.

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – January 3, 2011

This week on AZNow.Biz, read about how the economic recovery has companies looking for ways to make sure they retain their key employees. Also, read and watch the latest edition of our CEO Series. We talk to Roy Vallee, the CEO and chairman of Avnet. And check out our Touchdown AZ section to find out what kind of economic impact the upcoming BCS College Football Championship could have on the Valley’s economy.


Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – December 27, 2010

This week on AZNow.Biz we look at how convenience clinics can help companies’ bottom lines by getting employees back on their feet and back in the office more quickly. Also, our partners at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University advise businesses to consider the customer when using self-service technology. And read up on all the big college football bowl games coming soon to the Valley at Touchdown AZ.

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – December 20, 2010

This week on AZNow.Biz, learn about CrossFit Scottsdale, a training method that focuses on sessions that involve strength and conditioning training programs, with exercises that are executed at high intensity. Also, our work force columnist, Marcia Rhodes offers a list of the dos and don’ts of employee evaluations.


Unemployment

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Drops in November

The state’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percent to 9.4 percent in November, as the economy added 12,800 jobs. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) reports today that the private sector generated 9,300 jobs, while government added 3,500. Traditional holiday hiring boosted the November job gains.



Nov. ’10 Oct. ’10 Nov. ’09
United States 9.8% 9.6% 10%
Arizona 9.4% 9.5% 9.3%



This is the fourth consecutive month of over-the-year gains in total nonfarm employment. The state’s 1 percent year-over-year gain in November was higher than the nation’s gain of 0.6 percent. Arizona’s 1 percent gain totals about 24,900 jobs added since the previous November.

“Overall, Arizona’s employment situation continues to improve,” according to the ACA employment report.



Nov. ’10
Oct. ’10
Nov. ’09
Overall 2,448 2,435.2 2,423.1
Monthly Change 0.5% 1.3% 0.6%
Annual Change 1% 1.1% -6.5%



Over the month, six out of the state’s 11 major sectors saw job gains. The sector that had the most gains for the month was trade, transportation and utilities, with 9,900, mostly due to the 8,700 jobs gained in the retail sector.

Gains were reported in: professional and business services (2,300); educational and health services (1,700); government (3,500); manufacturing (600); and information (400).

Losses were reported in: construction (-3,000); financial activities (-900); leisure and hospitality (-900); other services (-700); and natural resources and mining (-100).

Construction lost the most jobs of any sector in November, but it still is recording net job gains for 2010.

The unemployment rates climbed in almost all of the state’s largest metro areas.


Nov. ’10
Oct. ’10
Nov. ’09
Phoenix Metro 8.9% 8.4% 8.7%
Tucson Metro 8.8% 8.3% 8.5%
Yuma Metro 26.8% 25.7% 22.4%
Flagstaff Metro 8.1% 7.8% 8.1%
Prescott Metro 10.2% 9.7% 9.8%
LHC-Kingman Metro 10.9% 10.9% 9.8%
Arizona's Unemployment Rate Drops in October 2010

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Drops in October 2010

The state’s unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 9.5 percent in October, as the economy added 27,400 jobs. This is the largest October job gain since 2004. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) reports today that the private sector generated 93 percent of those jobs, or 25,600.  Year-over-year, total non-farm employment was up 1.1 percent last month.


Oct. 2010 Sept. 2010 Oct. 2009
United States 9.6% 9.6% 10.1%
Arizona 9.5% 9.7% 9.3%

This is the third consecutive month of over-the-year gains in total nonfarm employment, and the rate of gains has been increasing each month. According to the ACA, Arizona now ranks 18th in the nation in over-the-year employment growth. The state was ranked 32nd in September. Significantly,  Arizona’s construction industry continued to show signs of improvement, and in October posted its first over-the-year increase since December 2006.

“Overall, Arizona’s employment situation is beginning to show indications of welcome improvements,” according to the ACA employment report.


Oct. 2010 Sept. 2010 Oct. 2009
Overall 2,432.4 2,405.0 2,408.0
Monthly  Change 1.1% 0.7% 0.7%
Annual  Change 1.0% 0.5% -7.2%

Over the month, 10 out of the state’s 11 major sectors saw job gains. The sector that had the most gains for the month was trade, transportation and utilities, with 7,100.

Gains were reported in: professional and business services (1,700); financial activities (600); educational and health services (6,400); natural resources and mining (100); construction (5,100); leisure and hospitality (3,300); government (1,800); other services (1,400); and manufacturing (200).

The only sector to lose jobs was information (-300).

The unemployment rates dropped in almost all of the state’s largest metro areas.


Oct. 2010 Sept. 2010 Oct.2009
Phoenix Metro 8.5% 8.7% 8.8%
Tucson Metro 8.3% 8.6% 8.6%
Yuma Metro 25.8% 23.9% 21.9%
Flagstaff Metro 7.9% 8.1% 8.4%
Prescott Metro 9.7% 10% 9.9%
LHC-Kingman Metro 10.9% 10.8% 10.8%
Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – October 25, 2010

There’s a lot of information headed your way, starting with our Buzz story. There’s a new health-care model that combines a doctor’s regular practice with  special one-on-one care for wealthy patients. It’s called hybrid-concierge care. Our health columnist, Dr. Michael Covalciuc, says we have to create our own health screening strategies. Our work force columnist, Marcia Rhodes, looks at  how cost cutting-employers are keeping paid time off programs.


Cubicle

Jobs Grow Modestly; State’s Unemployment Rate Is Unchanged

The state added 16,000 jobs in September, mostly due to the start of the new school year. Despite the modest gains, the Arizona Department of Commerce reported today that the state’s unemployment rate remains at 9.7 percent


Sept. 2010 Aug. 2010 Sept. 2009
United States 9.6% 9.6% 9.8%
Arizona 9.7% 9.7% 9.4%

Year-over-year, total non-farm employment was up 0.5 percent last month. August’s year-over-year numbers were revised from a loss of 0.1 percent in total non-farm employment to a gain of 0.3 percent. The August gains broke a 30-month streak of over-the-year job losses for the state.

For the month, the state’s employment gain of 0.7 percent were below the 10-year average, but was better than the previous two years, when the economy generated job growth of 0.2 percent in September 2008 and 0.5 percent in September 2009. The private sector had an anemic net gain of 700 jobs last month. However, for the past three Septembers, the private sector has lost jobs.


Sept. 2010 Aug. 2010 Sept. 2009
Overall 2,403.8 2,387.8 2,392.1
Monthly % Change 0.7% 1.6% 0.5%
Annual % Change 0.5% 0.3% -8%



Over the month, six sectors gained jobs and five lost jobs. The sector that had the most gains for the month was government, with 15,300. But those jobs came primarily from local and state education, with losses in the federal government offsetting some of the gains.


Professional and business services added 2,900 jobs; financial activities gained 1,700; educational and health services rose by 1,200; natural resources and mining generated 200 jobs; and construction also saw job gains of 200 in September

The professional and business services sector boasts the highest over-the-year job gains with 13,800. Over the year, trade, transportation and utilities was up 10,100 jobs; educational and health services gained 8,800; leisure and hospitality had a 1,500-job gain; and natural resources and mining generated 1,200 positions.

Over-the year losses were recorded with government (-7,300); construction (-6,100); other services (-4,000); financial activities (-2,500); information (-2,000); and manufacturing (-1,800).

The unemployment rates in the state’s largest metro areas mostly held steady or dropped slightly in September.


Sept. 2010 Aug. 2010 Sept.2009
Phoenix Metro 8.7% 8.8% 8.8%
Tucson Metro 8.6% 8.7% 8.6%
Yuma Metro 23.9% 23.7% 21%
Flagstaff Metro 8% 8% 8.2%
Prescott Metro 10.1% 10.2% 9.9%
LHC-Kingman Metro 10.8% 10.9% 10.8%

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – October 18, 2010

This week on AZNow.Biz: Avnet chairman and CEO Roy Vallee talks about leading one of the largest distributors of electronic parts in the world. Green columnist Dustin Jones asks whether sustainable housing is in Arizona’s future, and political columnist Tom Milton looks at the political scene as we close in on next month’s mid-term elections.


Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – October 12, 2010

This week on AZNow.Biz, the University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is making it easy for entrepreneurs and small business owners to expand their knowledge with three unique online certificate courses. Our personal finance columnist, Jacob Gold, writes about Americans putting more money into savings and how that benefits the economy. Plus, see some majestic views of the Grand Canyon in our Snap Shot feature.

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – October 4, 2010

This week on AZNow.Biz, listen to a podcast from our partners at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University about what it takes to become a great leader. Our tech columnist looks at how Microsoft needs to shake itself out of its doldrums, and our political columnist writes about the upcoming mid-term elections.

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – September 27, 2010

This week on AZNow.Biz: Want to push it to the limit? The Sanctuary on Camelback is offering a program to help you train for triathlons. Remember what Mom said about eating your vegetables? Our health columnist says which vegetables can help you avoid a serious disease. Also, find the best apps to increase your web productivity. Log on every day to find all this and many other interesting business news and features on AZNow.Biz


87787264

Falling Prices, More Foreclosures Plague The Valley’s Housing Market

The housing market in the Phoenix metro area continues to tread through troubled waters.

According to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, the median price for an existing home in the Valley fell for the third straight month. Making matters worse, foreclosures continue to weigh down activity in the existing-home market.

The median home-resale price for last month was $135,000 — $3,000 less than August 2009. In fact, existing-home prices have been falling steadily since May, when the median price was $144,000. The median price was at $143,000 in June, and $137,500 in July.

“Although current interest rates and home prices are very attractive, homeowners don’t seem to be motivated to buy,” says Jay Butler, an associate professor of real estate at ASU. “This lack of motivation can be attributed to anemic economic and job recovery, low consumer confidence and stricter underwriting guidelines, among other factors.”

Home sales last month were particularly sluggish, with 4,800 homes re-sold. That’s down from almost 5,100 in July. In August 2009, almost 6,000 homes were re-sold. The numbers aren’t expected to improve anytime soon as home sales traditionally slow down after the summer season.

“As the year comes to an end, median prices often decline in response to holiday and school activities that allow little time or desire to buy a home,” Butler says. “Beyond the impact of foreclosure activity, the absence of a strong move-up market, will also limit any growth in home prices.”

The other barometer of the Valley’s existing home market — foreclosures — fared just as badly in August. Foreclosures accounted for 45 percent of the existing-home market last month, the highest percentage since January.

“When you add in re-sales of previously foreclosed-on homes, all of this foreclosure-related activity represents a full two-thirds of the market’s transactions in August,” Butler says.

About 4,000 foreclosures were recorded in Maricopa County in August, up slightly from about 3,900 in July. In August 2009, 3,100 foreclosures were reported.

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – September 20, 2010

It’s another exciting week at AZNow.Biz. Arizona’s credit unions are asking Congress to allow them to make more loans to more small businesses. This week also marks the debut of our workforce columnist, Marcia Rhodes, from the recruitment firm WorldatWork. Rhodes asks the question, are you a good boss?  Find all this and more at AZNow.Biz.

87813512

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Climbs In August

Despite some gains in the governmental sector, the state’s unemployment rate for August rose one-tenth of a percent to 9.7 percent as private sector hiring was flat, according to the Arizona Department of Commerce. Usually, Arizona’s economy generates jobs in August, but last month only 28,000 jobs were created. That was still better than August of 2009.

Most of the seasonal job gains were the result of local schools bringing on 26,000 positions for the start of the academic year. State education added 7,000 jobs, with losses in other government agencies offsetting some of the gains.

The private sector posted gains in five sectors and losses in five sectors for a net decline of 800 jobs. Of the state’s 11 industry sectors, government posted the largest job gains at 29,000. Educational and health services followed government, adding 3,000 jobs. Construction continued to add jobs in August, generating 1,900 and giving the industry a net gain through the first eight months of the year.

The Commerce Department reports that, “Construction employment trends in 2010 indicate stabilization in the industry after 28 months of continuous losses.”

Other sectors creating jobs in August were: professional and business services (1,800); trade, transportation and utilities (1,100); and natural resources and mining (100). The sectors that lost jobs last month were: information (500); financial activities (800); manufacturing (1,400); and other services (2,000).

Leisure and hospitality lost 4,000 jobs last month, which the Commerce Department called “unusual.” With the winter tourism season generally starting after Labor Day, hotels and resorts in the state traditionally tend to ramp up hiring in August.

Year-over-year, the jobless situation in Arizona continues to show improvement. Total nonfarm employment last month was down 0.1 percent. In August 2009, it was down 8.3 percent. Compared to August of last year, four sectors registered year-over-year job gains last month. The professional and business services sector was up 8,200 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities was up 7,700 jobs; educational and health services had a gain of 7,100 jobs: and natural resources and mining posted gains of 1,000.

Around the state, only the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas held steady with their unemployment rates. Other major metro areas in the state posted increases in joblessness. Here’s a look at unemployment around the state:

Phoenix Metro: 8.8%
Tucson Metro: 8.7%
Yuma Metro:    23.7%
Flagstaff Metro:   8.0%
Prescott Metro:   10.2%
LHC-Kingman Metro: 10.9%

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – September 13, 2010

It’s another jam-packed week at AZNow.Biz. Did you know that what you post on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or MySpace could cost you a job offer? On Tuesday, AZNow.Biz talks to HR professionals and labor attorneys to find out what online information can or can’t hurt your career. Read this story and more, including food reviews and the latest from our expert columnists, all week at AZNow.Biz.