Tag Archives: economy

global

Experts: Slow, steady economic recovery for Arizona

Our economy continues to slowly improve, with the healthcare and biosciences industry having the most potential for local employment growth. That was just one of the positive signs that came out of last week’s Economic Outlook 2015, presented by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) and Cox Communications. Nearly 800 business leaders attended the 32nd annual event at the Arizona Biltmore on Friday, September 5, 2014, to hear an analysis of the state’s economic challenges and what opportunities lie ahead for Arizona’s economy.

Attendees gained insight from local, national and global economic experts, including presentations by Dr. Quincy Krosby, Chief Market Strategist at Prudential Annuities, local Valley economist Elliott Pollack of Elliott D. Pollack & Company, and financial markets expert Jim Huntzinger of BOK Financial.

In an exclusive GPCCTV video, Pollack points out the positive developments he sees and why continued economic growth will be slow for Arizona.

Stated Pollack, “I’m more optimistic than I was a year ago. The housing market is going to improve and continue to grow, but very slowly. While it’s a little disappointing in the housing market, overall it’s not a bad picture. There is no recession on the horizon. Consumer confidence surveys are really starting to improve in a meaningful way. But essentially, things are moving forward.”

Huntzinger, executive vice president and chief investment officer of BOK Financial, provided a national perspective of the economy and his impression of improving economic indicators, the impact of events overseas and the outlook for the markets.

“I feel pretty confident about the way the economy is setting up right now,” said Huntzinger. “The U.S. economy is stable and improving. The auto industry is doing quite well. The retail industry is doing OK. Manufacturers are improving. We have a slow-growing, but deliberate economy that’s gaining some steam.”

Prudential Annuities Chief Market Strategist Dr. Quincy Krosby, a former diplomat with an impressive career in international finance, provided a global perspective and discussed the current status of industries abroad, future economic drivers and the role Phoenix plays in the global economy. In this exclusive GPCCTV video of Dr. Krosby, she shares how events on the other side of the globe can impact the entire world and American economies.

“A healthy global economy is good for all countries…we’re always optimistic,” stated Krosby. “Terrorism is the biggest worry in a volatile climate, but the U.S. economy is resilient.”

Cox Communications once again showcased its mobile technologies with the Cox Media Mobile Survey, which asked attendees at Economic Outlook 2015 to share their sentiments via text message on local industry growth, national policy and local industry growth.

Thirty-three percent of attendees who responded said that the healthcare and biosciences industry has the most potential for local employment growth.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents indicated that their number-one concern next year from an economic perspective was election results, while 25 percent of survey respondents indicated that international unrest was their top concern.
Global risks were also on everyone’s mind, with 26 percent of survey respondents citing political and social instability as the top global risk, while 18 percent of respondents indicated that fiscal crises in key economies were high on their radar.

Full results of the Cox Media Mobile Survey are available, along with the presentations and interviews from Economic Outlook 2015, at http://www.phoenixchamber.com/eo2015.

The GPCC has been hosting this event since 1982, and uses it as an opportunity to bring the community together to learn about both the global and local economic indicators. The Chamber’s Economic Development Annual Report was also presented during Friday’s event. The report communicates the Chamber’s commitment to support community businesses in their efforts to grow, retain and expand and can be found online at www.phoenixchamber.com/yearinreview.

“The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is proud to work with a strong community partner like Cox Communications to present the state of the economy from a local, national and international perspective to business leaders across the Valley,” stated Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “Although Arizona’s economic recovery remains on a slow, but steady path as the presenters stated at this year’s event, I am confident that Arizona will see continued improvements in job growth, consumer spending and economic development in 2015.”

Added Sanders, “In collaboration with the City of Phoenix and the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s PHOENIX FORWARD>> initiative will deliver a strategic and sustainable, economic development plan. This initiative focuses on strengthening and growing existing business in three key industry sectors: Health Care & Biosciences, Transportation & Logistics and Advanced Business Services. Together, we will remove barriers to success for the region’s businesses and grow Arizona’s economy from within.”

hispanic

Valley cities rank high for Hispanic business climate

The United States is often dubbed “a nation of immigrants.” But lately the path to American citizenship has been a rough road, especially for an increasing number of Hispanics. Whether they’ve entered U.S. borders lawfully or otherwise, many have felt the sting of marginalization, racism and discrimination in every kind of social environment. And despite the unfriendly welcome, they’re as motivated as ever to put down roots in American soil in order to find better opportunities and improve their lives.

For Hispanics who’ve successfully integrated into American society, they also have managed to contribute significantly to the economy. Their collective impact is reflected in the growing quantity of Hispanic-owned businesses in the country, which stood at 3.1 million in 2013. Together, they hauled in an estimated $486 billion in revenue, as reported by Geoscape and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Even the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. bestow net positive gains on the national economy over time.

Equally as impressive, Hispanics opened businesses — many owned by self-employed individuals — at a rate more than twice the national average of 18 percent between 2002 and 2007, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau figures. Today, Hispanics and Latinos constitute the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. And by 2050, they could make up a third of the country’s population, quickly becoming what USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez appropriately described as “America’s business future.”

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month beginning Sept. 15, WalletHub, a leading personal finance social network, assessed the minority business climate within the 150 largest U.S. cities. It did so by examining 19 key metrics such as Hispanic entrepreneurship rates, corporate tax systems and the share of businesses owned by Hispanics.

Among the Top 20 best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs, Metro Phoenix is represented by two cities — Gilbert and Chandler. Below are the rankings of each of them together with the top metrics.

Gilbert ranks No. 4 for Hispanic business climate:
4th – Hispanic Renters to Hispanic Owners Ratio
12th – Unemployment Rate of Hispanics
15th – Housing Affordability for Hispanics
18th – Length of Average Workday

Chandler ranks No. 10 for Hispanic business climate:
15th – Unemployment Rate of Hispanics
18th – Income Growth of Hispanics
18th – Length of Average Workday
19th – Hispanic Renters to Hispanic Owners Ratio

Tumbleweed Logo

Tumbleweed Center Relocates Phoenix Headquarters

Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development will expand and relocate its headquarters from Downtown Phoenix to Siete Square II, 3707 N. 7th St. in Midtown, according to Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc.

Tumbleweed was established in 1972 with a mission to provide a safe space for collaborating with youth and young adults in the community who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness.  The organization serves more than 3,000 young people each year, ages 12 to 25 years.

“Tumbleweed made a very shrewd decision to expand and relocate its headquarters at this time, locking in to today’s historically low rates.  This allowed us to lower occupancy costs over the long term,” said Paul Andrews of Cushman & Wakefield.  “This strategy cut thousands of dollars in future rent expense that now can be redirected back into the organization’s much needed programs that serve Metro Phoenix’s teenage youth.”

The local non-profit has leased 13,047 square feet at the garden office complex and will locate from 1419 N. 3rd Street in fall of 2013.

Siete Square II is one of four buildings within the larger Siete Square garden office complex.  The Indiana Farm Bureau owns Siete Square II.  Paul Andrews of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Inc. represented Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development in its lease negotiations.

Phil Breidenbach and Lindsey Carlson of Colliers serve as exclusive leasing agents for Siete Square II, representing the Indiana Farm Bureau.

WellsFargoLogo

Wells Fargo Plans 410,000 SF Expansion in Chandler

By Eric Jay Toll, Senior Correspondent for Arizona Builder’s Exchange |

Special to Arizona Commercial Real Estate magazine

 

Wells Fargo unveiled its 410,000-square-foot Chandler campus expansion to a neighborhood meeting in the East Valley September 16. Arizona Builder’s Exchange broke the story Monday night that the bank filed a rezoning application with the city to allow a pair of four-story buildings on the northwest corner of Price and Queen Creek roads in the Price Corridor.

More than 2,500 additional employees will work in the new Wells Fargo buildings, bringing campus employment to more than 5,000 workers.

The bank has selected an architect, but has not named the contractor for the project. A formal announcement with construction schedule is expected shortly. AZBEX reports sources saying the project could cost as much as $90 million.

The building shapes, design and materials are intended to mirror Phase I of the campus. The offices will rise to 64 feet. Three more buildings and parking garages are projected for future phases. The city has not set a hearing date for the zoning. Wells Fargo has not yet announced its construction schedule.

Read the original story here.

 

Eric Jay Toll is the senior correspondent for Arizona Builder’s Exchange. His freelance work appears in a number of regional and national publications, including upcoming stories in AZRE and AZ Business.

Larry Pobuda

Commercial Real Estate Veteran Larry Pobuda Joins Transwestern's Phoenix Team

 

Transwestern announced that commercial real estate veteran Lawrence (Larry) Pobuda has joined its Phoenix office, increasing its role in the leasing and sales of office buildings and providing in-depth expertise in development and investment.

As senior vice president, Pobuda serves institutional, corporate and private owners, as well as corporate users.

“It is exciting to make strategic expansions in our range of services with someone such as Larry,” said Transwestern Senior Vice President Bill Zurek. “His national relationships and experience in a variety of real estate disciplines will enhance our already strong capabilities.”

Pobuda arrives from Minneapolis where he co-founded Stewart Lawrence Group, a partnership involved in acquiring and developing commercial real estate assets. In Minneapolis, he provided advisory services to key clients including the University of Minnesota.

He also served as senior vice president and member of the five-person executive team at United Properties/NorthMarq, a 500-employee, full-service commercial real estate firm. Pobuda also served as the 2010 National Chair of NAIOP, the 15,000-member commercial real estate development association.

His recent role as NAIOP Chair also brings an additional national perspective to Transwestern’s Phoenix team. Pobuda will maintain his relationships in Minneapolis in order to facilitate connections between those clients and Transwestern’s Minneapolis office.

“I am delighted to join Transwestern’s Phoenix team, which offered me the rare opportunity to interface between the worlds of development, investment and brokerage,”  Pobuda said. “Phoenix is a wonderful community where I have felt at home even while I was based in Minneapolis. As the region’s economy continues to improve I look forward to helping grow Transwestern’s business.”

Pobuda’s activity in Minneapolis included tenant representation, project and facility management and lease administration. He served such high-profile clients as BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, Ecolab, UnitedHealth Group, Silicon Graphics and Macromedia.

Responsible for the leasing oversight of 1.8 MSF of Class A office space, Pobuda successfully closed more than 2 MSF of leases with an aggregate value of more than $420M for companies including GMAC/RFC, Bank of America, Weber Shandwick, Oracle, Microsoft, Merrill Lynch, William Mercer and AON.

 

2013 Biggest Fastest Growing Business Industries

The 7 Fastest Growing Industries of 2013 – Infographic

The economy is, thankfully, recovering, and entrepreneurialism has played a large role in helping it along. One of the most interesting parts of this recovery, however, is the emergence of new types of industry. Businesses have found all new niches to fill, and seven industries in particular have shown substantial growth in 2013:

MyCorporation - The Seven Fastest Growing Industries of 2013

energy.bill

Coalition Formed to Combat Proposed EPA Regulations

A group of Arizona business leaders and politicians announced that they have created a coalition to address proposed regulations on the Navajo Generating Station.

The Arizona Coalition for Water, Energy and Jobs said in a press conference on Tuesday that regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if implemented, will have an adverse effect on the Arizona economy by “significantly increasing water prices.”

The proposed regulations, which are a part of the EPA’s “regional haze program,” would require the generating station to install pollution control technology, intended to reduce haze and increase visibility over the Grand Canyon.

“This (the regulations) will not improve enjoyment of the Grand Canyon, but will increase the cost of business,” Sid Wilson, chairman of the coalition said.

Wilson, who came out of a four-year retirement from the Central Arizona Water Conservation District to chair the coalition, said during the conference that implementing the necessary emissions control technology, which are proposed to be complied with by Aug. 6, “could cost up to $1 billion.”

“At risk are 3,400 jobs each year,” said Karrin Taylor, board chair of Valley Partnership.

“If these jobs disappear, they would be very difficult to replace,” said Kelly Norton, president of the Arizona Mining Association, noting that an increase in water prices would have a “cascading effect on the economy.”

Taylor also said that the regulations would stagnate business development in Arizona.

“One of the most important considerations for developing businesses is power and water rates,” she said.  “If we double or triple the cost of water, we immediately remove an important attribute of business development.”

She said that Arizona has “always had a competitive advantage” due to its ability to offer low rates on water and power, and noted “the Navajo Generating Station is at the heart of that system.”

“We can’t put at risk such an important economic tool for a rule that will deliver no benefit,” she said.

House Speaker Andy Tobin said during the conference that the coalition is rallying both locally and in Washington for support on the issue.

“I am asking the President of the United States to protect Arizona from these regulations,” he said.

David Martin, president of the Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors, said during the conference that the proposed regulations would produce results “similar to what happened at the Mohave Power Station,” which was forced to be shut down in 2005 after facing similar government intervention.

“We are not going to let special interests force us into the same corner,” he said.

Coalition members also said that the benefits of the regulations, which they cite as being based on “flawed technical analysis,” do not exceed the costs.

“The EPA has yet to thoughtfully approach the cost/benefit analysis required under law,” Martin said.  “If the costs of this rule exceed the benefits, and they clearly do, there would be no required retrofit.”

Kyrsten Sinema

AzBA Brings Regulatory Burden to Sinema

Seldom will you find a Member of Congress spending his or her few days out of session at a community bank.  That’s just where freshman U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema spent Wednesday afternoon. “It’s our job in Congress to strike the appropriate balance between a secure banking industry and adequate access to capital for families and small businesses,” said Sinema.  “In order to fortify the banking community –a core component of Arizona’s economy – we must strengthen access to capital for middle class families as well as review the impacts of regulatory burdens.”

The Arizona Bankers Association brought Representative Sinema to Arizona Bank & Trust in Phoenix on Wednesday.  Bank President and CEO, Jerry Schwallier, said “[t]his was a great opportunity to demonstrate to Arizona’s only banking committee Member how the decisions made  in Congress impact the people we serve in Arizona.  I wish more public officials would take the time to do what Ms. Sinema did today.”

Community bank presidents Gail Grace, Sunrise Bank; Mike Thorell, Pinnacle Bank; and Ed Zito, Alliance Bank, all attended the briefing along with Paul Hickman, CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association.  Hickman commented, “[t]he community banking industry in Arizona today is facing increased pressure on all fronts.  Our association’s highest priority is to help both banks and entire communities by acting as their liaison to the government.”

The industry is working to grow the economy in the wake of the 2008 recession while also responding to the most comprehensive banking reform law of modern times.  The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is 2,319 pages long.  By comparison, the last major banking industry reform law – Gramm Leach Bliley – was 144 pages.  The Dodd Frank Act directs 398 separate rulemakings, of which 148 have been finalized, 121 are in some form of promulgation and 129 have yet to be even proposed.

economy

U.S. Business Leaders Showing Signs of Optimism

On the heels of a pessimistic outlook during the fourth quarter of 2012, US business leaders show signs of increased optimism in the performance of the nation’s economy according to the latest data from the Grant Thornton International Business Report, a survey of 3,200 business leaders in 44 countries. In first quarter 2013, optimism among U.S. business leaders rose from -4 percent to 31 percent.

This finding accompanies IBR data that reveals an improvement in sentiment about most areas of business performance and stability. The net percent balance of US business leaders expecting revenues to increase in 2013 rose by eight percentage points from the fourth quarter. In addition, profitability expectations rose sharply in first quarter 2013, up 14 percentage points from the previous quarter. Encouragingly, hiring expectations in the United States remain above the global average. A net balance of 29 percent of business leaders in the United States foresee an increase in hiring during the coming year, a four-percentage point increase from the previous quarter and five percentage points above the global average.

“With the fiscal cliff and presidential election behind us, the anxiety has seemingly lessened among business executives,” said Stephen Chipman, chief executive officer of Grant Thornton LLP. “While uncertainty is still present, it’s encouraging to see such a large increase in optimism among the nation’s business leaders—particularly when it comes to employment, which is key to US economic health.”

The increase in optimism in the US economy is on par with what is occurring in other markets, with global business optimism up to its highest level since early 2011. Globally, a net balance of 27 percent of businesses are optimistic about the economic outlook, up from just 4 percent from the previous quarter. Following the United States, the next two largest economies in the world also saw sentiment improve. China business optimism rose from a net balance of 19 percent to 29 percent while Japan saw a major increase in optimism, from a net balance of -70 percent to -2 percent.

Still, there are some areas for improvement. Despite a modest uptick from the previous quarter, few U.S. businesses plan to invest in research and development in 2013, with a net balance of only 12 percent expecting an increase during the next 12 months. In addition, 36 percent of U.S. business leaders cite regulations and red tape as the number one factor stopping them from growing their operations in the next 12 months.

immigration

I love it when a plan comes together

This is a heady time for supporters of real immigration reform. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including our own John McCain and Jeff Flake, have announced their support for a framework of sweeping changes that have long been supported by Arizona’s – and the nation’s – business community.

It is natural that Senators McCain and Flake are at the forefront of this effort. They have been consistent voices for reasonable changes to our immigration system that will secure our borders and grow our economy.

We are seeing real leadership on display. To have a New York Democrat like Chuck Schumer standing next to Florida Republican Marco Rubio, someone who could easily sit this one out in order to protect his status as the latest potential GOP presidential nominee du jour, is an example of putting policy over politics that we could use more of.

That’s not to say that there aren’t politics at play here. Just look at the walloping the Republicans took from Hispanic and Asian voters last November to get a sense of why that party would be wise to alter its posture towards this fast-growing demographic. But as someone who has done his time in the trenches of partisan politics, a bold move like this one won’t necessarily earn valentines from grassroots activists.

Here’s the framework for legislative action on immigration reform that the senators laid out:

1.  Creating a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants already here that is contingent upon securing the border and combating visa overstays;

2.   Improving our legal immigration system and attracting the world’s best and brightest;

3.  Strong employment verification; and

4.  Admitting new workers and protecting workers’ rights.

This emerging framework and the cast of characters involved make me truly optimistic that there is a very real opportunity to advance immigration reform in 2013.

The desire to find a way to keep and attract high tech workers is especially encouraging. Even when unemployment was coming dangerously close to double digits, time and again I heard from employers who were having trouble finding qualified workers. Yet we have a visa system that will train up potential workers in sought after fields through our universities, and then wish them well as they head back to their home countries, and it’s almost a consensus item that we have to fix our broken agriculture worker visa system.

As the president said in his speech Monday in Las Vegas, “… the time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform. […] I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity.”

The fact that the world’s most talented and hardest working want to come to the United States is an asset that no other country can claim. It speaks to the dynamism of our people, culture and economy. I can personally attest that it was a net win when my wife, Tali, and her family immigrated to the U.S. from Israel. Ask North Korea about how well they’re doing attracting new immigrants and you‘ll get a sense of how beneficial immigration can be to a country’s health.

We can secure our borders and secure our economy. Let’s get this done this year.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. http://www.azchamber.com/

Small Businesses getting help in down economy

U.S. Business Leaders Show Declining Optimism about Economy

U.S. business leaders continue to show a lack of optimism about the performance of the nation’s economy, according to the latest data from the Grant Thornton International Business Report, a survey of 3,200 business leaders in 44 countries. In fourth quarter 2012, optimism among US business leaders fell to -4 percent, the lowest since the depths of the financial crisis.

This finding accompanies a general lack of optimism about most areas of business performance and stability. For example, the net percent balance of US business leaders expecting revenues to increase in 2013 decreased by 10 percentage points from the third quarter. In addition, profitability expectations dropped by nine percentage point from the third quarter. As far as employment, arguably the country’s biggest concern, only a net balance of 25 percent of business leaders in the United States foresee an increase in hiring during the coming year, a three percentage point decrease from the previous quarter.

“The lack of confidence in, and optimism about, our economy among the nation’s business leaders shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, given the ongoing fragile recovery and recent drama surrounding the fiscal cliff,” said Stephen Chipman, chief executive officer of Grant Thornton LLP. “During the next few months, our country’s political leaders should focus on resolving uncertainty so that business leaders, in this country and beyond, can gain the confidence in our economy that is crucial to US business competitiveness and the dynamic growth that comes with it.”

The notion that the recent debate about the fiscal cliff is affecting optimism about the economy correlates with other recent research from Grant Thornton US, which suggests 40 percent of CFOs have delayed decision making because of similar concerns.1

And though 39 percent of respondents believe there will be increased access to financing in the next 12 months, which often helps grow a business, 48 percent don’t expect to see any change. Slightly encouraging is that 74 percent of business owners plan to give employees raises in the next 12 months, though only 12 percent plan to give raises above the rate of inflation.

Interestingly, the lack of optimism in the US economy is actually quite different than what is occurring in other global markets. For example, business optimism in the emerging markets of Latin America remained relatively stable in the past year, and actually increased to 69 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 61 percent during the same period last year. The BRIC economies (34 percent to 39 percent) also remained consistently optimistic, and there has also been an increase in Asia Pacific (excl. Japan) (23 percent to 28 percent) during the same period.

By comparison, optimism in North America has been on a bit of a rollercoaster during the past year—going from 6 percent in the fourth quarter 2011 to 52 percent in the second quarter 2012, before falling to just 1 percent in the fourth quarter 2012. The G7 economies have seen similar fluctuations, while European businesses have reported a slow decline in business optimism.

“With such lack of optimism in our economy, many business owners may decide to postpone any major investments related to the future of their business, but this could be a mistake,” said Chipman. “In a market such as this, there are opportunities for certain businesses that have the foresight to concentrate on long-term growth opportunities by investing in the right people and infrastructure. Those businesses will be best positioned for success once sustained economic recovery is finally a reality.”

TREO-Chairmans_Circle_2013

TREO adds to leadership

The TREO Board of Directors announced the following new leadership additions:

> New Vice Chairman of the Board/Chair-Elect: Guy Gunther, Vice President and General Manager, Tucson and Greater Arizona, CenturyLink. The Vice Chairman serves a key leadership role in partnership with the Chairman of the Board, and serves as Chair-Elect for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year.

New Chairman’s Circle Members:
> Karen D. Mlawsky, CEO, University of Arizona Medical Center
> Sandra Watson, President & CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority

“We’re thrilled to continue adding top business leadership to our ranks,” said Steve Eggen, retired CFO, Raytheon Missile Systems. “We have put together the right critical mass of leaders to accelerate our economic growth.”

As CenturyLink’s Vice President and General Manager, Guy Gunther is responsible for Northern and Southern Arizona markets for voice, data, entertainment and managed services, including P&L, field operations, customer experience, direct and indirect sales channels, network development and community relations. Gunther has over 20 years of senior management experience in telecommunications, consulting firms and finance. “I am honored to become part of the leadership of this effective organization,” said Gunther. “TREO is the connective tissue in the region – promoting our assets and creating value for companies looking to establish or expand operations in Southern Arizona.”

As CEO of the Hospital Division of The University of Arizona Health Network, Karen Mlawsky oversees both The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus and The University of Arizona Medical – South Campus, as well as dozens of affiliated clinics and physicians’ offices. She previously served as vice president of oncology services for University Medical Center in Tucson and spent more than 13 years at the Ohio State University Medical Center. “Health care will likely be one of the top job-creating industries, regardless of a slow economic recovery,” said Mlawsky. “There is tremendous opportunity to contribute to our region’s economic development through teaching and training our future health-care workforce.”

Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), brings more than 20 years of economic development leadership and experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted hundreds of companies that have invested billions of dollars in capital and created more than 65,000 quality jobs. With Governor Brewer’s visionary leadership, and a private sector board of directors made up of some of the state’s most successful CEOs, the ACA has established an aggressive five-year plan and is experiencing strong results in strengthening the state’s overall economy. “Partnering with regional groups such as TREO is critical to our overall success. TREO is central to a larger, collaborative movement in the state,” said Watson. “As a result of our strong, long-standing working relationship, we will continue to attract quality companies creating high-wage jobs in the Tucson region, benefitting the statewide economy.”

TREO Officers include:
> Chairman of the Board – Steve Eggen, (ret.) Chief Financial Officer, Raytheon Missile Systems
> Vice Chairman of the Board/Chair-Elect – Guy Gunther, Vice President and General Manager, Tucson and Greater Arizona, CenturyLink
> Immediate Past Chairman – Paul Bonavia, Chairman and CEO, UNS Energy Corp. & Tucson Electric Power Company
>  Secretary/Treasurer – Lisa Lovallo, Market Vice President, Southern Arizona, Cox Communications

TREO is governed by a 16-member Chairman’s Circle, which serves as a key advisory group for business development strategy and represents the Tucson region to national business prospects, and a 46-member Board of Directors.

TREO continues its Chairman’s Circle/Board of Directors expansion efforts begun in 2010. Economic development is a high priority, demanding increased engagement from the key companies, organizations and people that drive the Southern Arizona economy. TREO leadership recognizes the importance of providing strong thought leadership for community development and strengthening the Tucson “product” and positioning as a business center.

The above new members join other leaders providing both private and public sector perspective in accelerating economic development. For a complete listing of the TREO Chairman’s Circle and Board of Directors, visit http://www.treoaz.org/About-TREO-Board-of-Directors.aspx.

economy

CFOs see stability in US economy despite ‘fiscal cliff’ threat

Nearly 70 percent of chief financial officers of US companies believe the US economy will either improve or remain stable during the next six months, according to the 2012 Fall CFO Survey from Grant Thornton LLP. The survey findings reveal that 39 percent of respondents believe the state of the US economy will remain the same in the first half of 2013, while 30 percent believe it will improve. Of those surveyed, 31 percent said it will worsen, which is an increase of ten percentage points from the firm’s 2012 Summer CFO Survey findings.

That expectation of stability extends throughout the survey findings, with CFOs predicting that industry financial prospects (42 percent), pricing or fees charged (51 percent), and head count (49 percent) will all remain the same in the next six months.

And though the threat of a “fiscal cliff” looms large, 53 percent of respondents say it would not affect the first six months of 2013 for their companies. Further, 60 percent of respondents do not consider the uncertainty of the “fiscal cliff” resolution an obstacle to making business decisions.

“The turbulent years of the recent past have made businesses more adept at managing through economic uncertainty,” said Stephen Chipman, chief executive officer of Grant Thornton LLP. “It is reassuring to see that CFOs are confident that we will not take any steps backward in our progress.”

Also encouraging, 34 percent of respondents believe industry financial prospects will improve, 35 percent believe pricing or fees charged will increase, and 34 percent say head count will increase.

In addition, according to the survey findings CFOs are committed to keeping several employee benefits the same as last year, including bonuses (55 percent), stock options (69 percent), 401K match (85 percent), and other company-matched retirement contributions (82 percent). On a positive note, 59 percent plan to increase salaries.

“While many companies don’t foresee the economy taking a turn for the worse in the next six months, there is still an absence of improving economic conditions that are needed to propel our country into growth mode,” Chipman added. “Only 34 percent of companies expect their financial prospects to improve in the next six months, which means that reluctance to increase hiring and make capital investments will continue to bog down our economy.”

Grant Thornton LLP conducts its CFO Survey twice a year with CFOs and other senior financial executives across the United States. The fall 2012 survey took place between November 7 and November 30, with 1,582 CFOs and comptrollers participating. The survey has a confidence interval of +/- 2.5% at a 95% confidence level. Questions ranged from the state of the economy to developments in accounting and financial reporting. For more information on the survey, visit www.GrantThornton.com/CFOSurvey.

economy

Arizona Economy Expands in September

Comerica Bank’s Arizona Economic Activity Index increased by 0.9 percentage points in September, rising to a level of 87.7. The September index reading is 17 points, or 24 percent, above the index cyclical low of 71.0. Year-to-date the index has averaged 85 points, seven points above the average for all of 2011. August’s index reading was unrevised at a level of 86.8.

“The Arizona economy expanded for the fourth straight month in September, as shown by our Arizona Economic Activity Index. Job gains are strengthening the foundation of our index, as Arizona job growth continues to outpace that of the nation. Phoenix home prices have increased every month for the 12 months through September,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “The recovery in home prices and in residential construction is providing broad support to nearly all aspects of the state economy. We expect to see further improvement to the Arizona economy in the months ahead.”

The Arizona Economic Activity Index consists of seven variables, as follows: nonfarm payrolls, exports, sales tax revenues, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, building permits, and the Case-Shiller home price index. All data are seasonally adjusted, as necessary, and indexed to a base year of 2008. Nominal values have been converted to constant dollar values. Index levels are expressed in terms of three-month moving averages.

Comerica operates 18 full-service banking centers throughout the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. In addition to Arizona, Comerica locations can be found in its headquarters state of Texas, as well as in California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states,

housing.prices

Phoenix home prices jump 20.4%

Home prices increased in September in most major U.S. cities, more evidence of a housing recovery that is providing a lift to the fragile economy.

Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller reported Tuesday that its 20-city index of home prices rose 3 percent in September compared with the same month last year. Prices also gained 3.6 percent in the July-September quarter compared with the same quarter in 2011.

Across the nation, prices increased in 18 of 20 cities over the 12-month period. In Phoenix, prices jumped 20.4 percent over that stretch to lead all cities. Prices in Atlanta showed a modest 0.1 percent increase, ending 26 straight consecutive year-over-year declines.

Prices also rose in September from August in 13 cities. Five metro regions posted declines, while two were unchanged.

In Las Vegas, one of the hardest hit during the housing crisis, prices increased 1.4 percent — the biggest month-over-month gain. Prices rose 1.1 percent in Phoenix and Minneapolis. The largest decline was in Cleveland, where prices fell 0.9 percent.

Monthly prices are not seasonally adjusted, so some of the declines may signal the end of the summer buying period.

David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Case-Shiller index, said that when adjusting for seasonal factors, only one city showed a decline in September versus two in August. “Despite the seasons, housing continues to improve,” Blitzer said.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The September figures are the latest available.

Steady increases in home prices have helped drive a modest recovery in the housing market. Rising prices encourage more potential buyers to come off the sidelines and purchase homes. And more people may put their homes on the market as they gain confidence that they can sell at a good price.

Higher home prices can also make homeowners feel wealthier and more likely to spend more. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

A big reason for the rebound is that the excess supply of homes that built up before the housing crisis has finally thinned out. The number of previously occupied homes available for sale has fallen to a 10-year low. The inventory of new homes is also near the lowest level since 1963.

At the same time, more people are looking to buy or rent a home after living with relatives or friends during and immediately after the Great Recession.

Those trends are also pushing up home sales and construction. Sales of previously occupied homes are near five-year highs, excluding temporary spikes in 2009 and 2010 when a homebuyer tax credit boosted purchases.

Builders, meanwhile, are more optimistic that the recovery will endure. A measure of their confidence rose to the highest level in six and a half years this month. And builders broke ground on new homes and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years last month.

rsz_emerson_court

Construction Material Costs Dip in October, but Outrun Contractors' Bid Prices

Construction contractors face a continuing cost squeeze, even though a key price index for construction materials dipped in October and showed only a moderate increase over the past year, according to an analysis of federal figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials warned that recent and announced price increases may threaten the survival of some contractors.

“Although several materials retreated in price last month, prices in the past year have still outpaced the tiny increases in contractors’ bids,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade association. “In addition, some of the price drops have already reversed, or will soon, leaving contractors who have already submitted bids vulnerable to losses.”

The producer price index for inputs to construction — covering materials that go into every type of project, plus items consumed by contractors such as diesel fuel — decreased 0.4% in October, following increases of 0.9% in both September and August.

The index climbed 2.0% in the 12 months ending in October. Meanwhile, the indexes that reflect what contractors would charge for their work were largely unchanged and mostly rose less than materials costs over 12 months — 1.0% for industrial buildings, 1.4% for new office construction, 1.5% for schools, and 2.6% for new warehouses.

Simonson said prices for essential construction materials were mixed in October. The price index for diesel fuel rose 2.3% in October and 12.6% over 12 months. Prices for copper and brass mill shapes climbed 2.8% in October and 4.7% year-over-year.

In contrast, the index for steel mill products dropped 1.9% for the month and 8.5 % for the year. The index for lumber and plywood shrank 1.8% in October but was 6.2% higher than a year ago. Indexes for gypsum products and insulation materials both fell 0.7% for the month but rose relative to October 2011 — by 14.1% and 5.5% respectively.

“Many of these price changes appear to be short-term,” Simonson said. “While retail diesel prices have dropped 15 cents per gallon in the past three weeks and copper futures have declined, steel, gypsum and even concrete suppliers have announced hefty price hikes for December or January. As a result, contractors who have already bid to install these materials at fixed prices may be headed for losses, and even bankruptcy.”

Association officials said declining public investments in infrastructure and businesses’ reluctance to commit to investments in the face of the “fiscal cliff” are forcing contractors to keep bids low. “With so few projects to bid on, contractors are offering their services with little or no margin to cover materials costs,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, noting that recent Census Bureau data showed a 4.2% drop in public construction spending and a slackening in the growth of private nonresidential construction between September 2011 and September 2012.

“Congress and the administration have to find a way to avoid the catastrophic increases in taxes and cuts in infrastructure spending that threaten many construction firms and risk putting their employees out of work.”

 

Barack Obama

Obama faces tough road with improving economy

Here’s the assignment President Barack Obama has won with his re-election: Improve an economy burdened by high unemployment, stagnant pay, a European financial crisis, slowing global growth and U.S. companies still too anxious to expand much.

And, oh yes, an economy that risks sinking into another recession if Congress can’t reach a budget deal to avert tax increases and deep spending cuts starting in January.

Yet the outlook isn’t all grim. Signs suggest that the next four years will coincide with a vastly healthier economy than the previous four, which overlapped the Great Recession.

Obama has said he would help create jobs by preserving low income tax rates for all except high-income Americans, spending more on public works and giving targeted tax breaks to businesses.

He used his victory speech in Chicago to stress that the economy is recovering and promised action in the coming months to reduce the government’s budget deficit, overhaul the tax system and reform immigration laws.

“We can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class,” Obama said.

The jobs picture has already been improving gradually. Employers added a solid 171,000 jobs in October. Hiring was also stronger in August and September than first thought.

Cheaper gas and rising home prices have given Americans the confidence to spend slightly more. Retailers, auto dealers and manufacturers have been benefiting.

That said, most economists predict the improvement will remain steady but slow. The unemployment rate is 7.9 percent. Obama was re-elected Tuesday night with the highest unemployment rate for any incumbent president since Franklin Roosevelt.

Few think the rate will return to a normal level of 6 percent within the next two years. The Federal Reserve expects unemployment to be 7.6 percent or higher throughout 2013.

Economists surveyed last month by The Associated Press said they expected the economy to grow a lackluster 2.3 percent next year, too slight to generate strong job growth. From July through September, the economy grew at a meager 2 percent annual rate.

Part of the reason is that much of Europe has sunk into recession. Leaders there are struggling to defuse a debt crisis and save the euro currency. Europe buys 22 percent of America’s exports, and U.S. companies have invested heavily there. Any slowdown in Europe dents U.S. exports and corporate profits.

And China’s powerhouse economy is decelerating, slowing growth across Asia and beyond.

Most urgently, the U.S. economy will fall over a “fiscal cliff” without a budget deal by year’s end. Spending cuts and tax increases of about $1.2 trillion will start to kick in. The combination of those measures would likely trigger a recession and drive unemployment up to 9 percent next year, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

Many U.S. employers are wary of expanding or hiring until that potential crisis is averted. That’s why analysts have said resolving, or at least delaying, the fiscal cliff should be the most urgent economic priority for the White House.

In the longer run, analysts are more optimistic. Americans are feeling generally better about the economy. Measures of consumer confidence are at or near five-year highs.

And the main reason unemployment rose from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent in October was that more people felt it was a good time to look for work. Most found jobs. Those who didn’t were counted as unemployed. (The government counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they’re looking for one.)

A brighter outlook among consumers is due, in part, to a steady increase in home prices after a painful six-year slump. Higher home prices can help create a “wealth effect,” making homeowners feel richer and spurring more spending.

Banks are also more likely to lend freely when home prices rise because homes are more likely to hold their value.

Americans have also been shrinking debts and saving slightly more. Household debt as a percentage of after-tax income dropped from about 125 percent before the recession to 103 percent in the April-June quarter, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest data. That ratio was roughly 90 percent in the 1990s.

But thanks to record-low interest rates, the cost of repaying those debts has dropped sharply. That, in turn, will free up more money for consumers to spend on cars, appliances and other goods.

Americans paid 10.7 percent of their after-tax income in interest on mortgages, credit cards and other consumer debt in this year’s April-June quarter, according to the Fed. That was down from 14 percent at the end of 2007. And it’s the lowest proportion since 1993.

“That’s 3 percentage points of disposable income that I am no longer using to pay for stuff that I bought earlier but I can instead use to buy stuff now,” noted Alan Levenson, chief economist at T. Rowe Price.

Economists note that economic recoveries after financial crises tend to be painfully slow. In part, that’s because time is needed for consumers to reduce debts and for banks to recover and lend again.

Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, noted that banks have boosted lending for the past 18 months — another sign that the passage of time is helping the economy rebound.

Obama “is going to have an easier time of it … because we’re further along the road to recovery after the financial crisis,” Ashworth said.

Economy

U.S. adds 171,000 jobs in October

U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October, and hiring was stronger in August and September than first thought. The solid job growth showed that the economy is strengthening slowly but consistently.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September. That was mainly because many more people began looking for work, and not all of them found jobs. The government uses a separate survey to calculate the unemployment rate, and it counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they’re looking for one.

Friday’s report was the last major snapshot of the economy before Tuesday’s elections. It’s unclear what political effect the report might have. By now, all but a few voters have made up their minds, particularly about the economy, analysts say.

Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month. That’s up from 67,000 a month from April through June. Still, President Barack Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt and slightly higher than the 7.8 percent on Inauguration Day.

The work force — the number of people either working or looking for work — rose by 578,000 in October. And 410,000 more people said they were employed. The difference is the reason the unemployment rate rose slightly.

The influx of people seeking jobs “could be a sign that people are starting to see better job prospects and so should be read as another positive aspect to the report,” said Julia Coronado, an economist at BNP Paribas.

During a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio, Obama said the job figures show the economy is slowly healing.

“We’ve made real progress, but we are here today because we know we’ve got more work to do,” Obama said. “Our fight goes on.”

But GOP challenger Mitt Romney pointed out to voters that the unemployment rate is now higher than when Obama took office.

“For four years, President Obama has told us that things are getting better and that we’re making progress,” Romney said. “For too many American families, those words ring hollow. We can do better.”

Friday’s report included a range of encouraging details.

The government revised its data to show that 84,000 more jobs were added in August and September than previously estimated. August’s job gains were revised from 142,000 to 192,000, September’s from 114,000 to 148,000.

The unemployment rate has fallen a full percentage point in the past 12 months. Much of that decline occurred because people gave up looking for work. That pushed the percentage of Americans working or looking for work to 63.5 percent in August, a 31-year low.

But since then, more Americans have started or resumed their job hunts and most have found work. The percentage of Americans working or looking for work rose for a second straight month in October to 63.8 percent.

The number of people with part-time jobs who wanted full-time work dropped last month. And the number of discouraged workers also declined. A measure of unemployment that includes those two groups plus the unemployed dipped to 14.6 percent from 14.7 percent.

The economy has added jobs for 25 straight months. There are now 580,000 more than when Obama took office.

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CFOs Believe Economy Will Not Improve During the Next Six Months

Fifty-four percent of CFOs in the U.S. do not foresee any changes in the health of the economy during the next six months, according to a survey by Grant Thornton LLP. Still, most CFOs surveyed are optimistic about maintaining (45 percent) or increasing (37 percent) their headcount over the next six months.

According to the survey, the biggest barrier to employee and company financial growth is the cost of employee benefits, with 56 percent identifying healthcare and pensions as the prime culprits. Furthermore, as the cost of healthcare grows, 77 percent of those surveyed anticipate company and employee contributions to increase over the next year. Yet benefits such as life insurance and disability are expected to remain mostly unchanged.

“With the economy in a fragile recovery, CFOs are most concerned about rising healthcare costs when it comes to compensation and benefits,” said Ralph Nefdt, office managing partner of Grant Thornton LLP’s Phoenix office. “Most companies will continue to see a significant increase in healthcare costs unless they have taken proactive steps to promote wellness and better utilization of healthcare benefits, which can help ease the increase of these costs.”

The survey also shows that 45 percent of those surveyed believe that deficit reduction is the number one initiative to improve overall economic optimism, while 27 percent believe job creation is the solution. In addition, 46 percent said that a tax incentive is not the solution. Even so, 30 percent of those surveyed believe a direct tax incentive for hiring new workers would increase the likelihood of expanding their workforce.

“CFOs are in a prime position to judge the health of the economy, as they have an inside look at their companies’ hiring practices as it relates to financial health of the organization,” added Nefdt. “It remains to be seen how upcoming events, such as the Presidential Election, will impact that outlook.”

About the Survey
Grant Thornton conducted the CFO Survey between June 21 and July 24, with 400 CFOs and comptrollers participating. The survey has a confidence interval of +/- 4.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Retail-Shopping-Bags

Higher retail spending lifts hopes for economy

Americans increased their retail spending in July by the most in five months, opening their wallets after a frugal spring and offering hope that the slumping economy may rebound in the second half of the year.

Retail spending rose in every major category, from electronics and sporting goods to furniture, building supplies and garden equipment. The report from the government followed one earlier this month that showed hiring strengthened in July.

Overall retail sales rose 0.8 percent from June to July, the Commerce Department said. It was the sharpest increase since February, and it followed three months of declines.

The stepped-up spending was evident in a flurry of retail earnings reports for the second quarter, which ended in late July.

Home Depot, the nation’s largest home improvement retailer, said healthy sales of paint, bathroom accessories and kitchen installations helped lift its net income 12 percent.

Macy’s raised its annual earnings guidance last week after reporting a 16 percent increase in net income in the second quarter. Macy’s executives specifically cited a pickup in their teen clothing business, which had been weak.

TJX Cos., which sells discounted brand names under such store banners as T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods, said its second-quarter net income jumped 21 percent on better same-store sales.

Food Truck Friday - Short Leash Hotdogs

Taking It To The Streets On Food Truck Friday

The Phoenix public market and Food Truck Friday stimulate the community and economy.

Each Friday on Central and Fillmore, students, seniors and dressed-down businessmen and women mingle and munch at an event that not only satiates the appetite, but stimulates the economy, too — the Friday Food Truck event at the Phoenix Public Market.

In 2010, the Phoenix Street Food Coalition joined forces with the Phoenix Public Market to create the first Food Truck Friday event, which launched that November with five trucks. Since then, the event has had to adapt to the growing number of patrons.

Brad Moore, owner of Short Leash Hotdogs and founder of the Phoenix Street Food Coalition, says the number of food trucks has doubled, increasing from five to 11.

“(Food Truck Friday) has been instrumental in helping food truck owners grow their business, and I think its helped to contribute to the overall awareness and success of the Phoenix Public Market,” Moore says.

The Phoenix Public Market recently added a covered patio with family-style seating where customers are able to converse and catch some shade. Moore says, on average, about 750 customers attend each Friday; and it’s quite the diverse group, too.

“We’ve seen everything from stay-at-home moms and those in the workforce, to senior citizens taking field trips to the Market, ASU classes reserving tables and civic groups,” says Cindy Gentry, executive director of Community Food Connections. “We’ve seen quite the range of people.”

Gentry, Moore and Cindy Dach, director of Roosevelt Row, all agree that the weekly Food Truck Friday event helps strengthen the sense of community within downtown area.

“It has a significant impact,” Dach says. “The success of Phoenix relies on the experience. People want to walk and bike and see a familiar face. The Market is a catalyst for that community impact.”

Because of the growing success and popularity of the event, the Market has added Wheel Food Wednesday to its events calendar, which features about nine food trucks. They have also extended the time of Food Truck Friday an extra half hour. They’re even planning to expand the venue’s space — into the street.

“Because the event is growing and more people are attending,” Gentry says, “the next frontier is to close off the street.”

For more information about the Phoenix Public Market and its weekly events, including Food Truck Friday and Open Air Saturday, visit foodconnect.org.

entrepreneurs

Celebrating Entrepreneurship ~ Nominations Open For Spirit Of Enterprise Awards

Their entrepreneurship helps create new jobs and boost our economy. That’s why we should all be involved in celebrating the importance of Arizona’s best businesses.

You can honor your favorite Arizona company by nominating it for the 2012 Spirit of Enterprise Awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The awards recognize firms that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship. Past winners include well-known companies, such as Cold Stone Creamery, China Mist, Grand Canyon Railway and Ollie the Trolley, as well as smaller businesses that set a great example.

“We want to acknowledge the companies that really make a difference, creating a positive culture both internally and in our community as a whole,” explains Gary Naumann, director of the Spirit of Enterprise Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Anyone can nominate a company, as long as it meets the following criteria:

  • A for-profit enterprise in business for at least four years;
  • Incorporated, headquartered or having a majority of its business operations in Arizona;
  • With three or more full-time employees;
  • Able to demonstrate profitability over the last three years combined.

In addition, one minority-owned business will receive the Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

The nomination process is starting this week. Companies must complete and turn in an awards application by July 31.

Winners will be announced Nov. 1 at the 16th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards event. Hundreds of Valley business and community leaders are expected to attend the awards luncheon at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

For more information on nominating a company, applying for the awards or attending the luncheon, please call (480) 965-0474 or visit www.spiritofenterprise.org.

These awards are just one focus of the Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience. One key program, Student Teams for Entrepreneurship Projects (STEP), matches teams of W. P. Carey School of Business students with Valley companies to help tackle real-world challenges and opportunities. Companies can also use the center to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.

new jobs pharmacy

OptumRx Adding 400 New Jobs In Arizona

OptumRx, a leading pharmacy benefits management (PBM) organization and one of the Optum companies of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), said it will create at least 400 new jobs in Tucson over the next 12-18 months.

The announcement was made at a news conference Thursday, attended by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, at the company’s new office in the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park.

“We are strengthening the infrastructure of Optum Rx in advance of a major expansion early next year, and we especially appreciate the help and support that comes from the outstanding workers and leaders of Arizona in that effort,” said Larry C. Renfro, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group and CEO of Optum.

“I am pleased that Optum and UnitedHealth Group recognize Tucson’s high-quality workforce and Arizona’s excellent business climate,” said Gov. Brewer. “The hundreds of jobs Optum will create here over the coming months show that Arizona is a premier destination for the growth of innovative businesses such as Optum. I look forward to a long and successful partnership between Optum and Arizona.”

The new OptumRx office, currently undergoing renovation, is expected to be ready for occupancy by mid-year, with recruiting for the new customer service positions expected to begin no later than the fourth quarter. The company will be hiring for Customer Service Advocates and a variety of positions involving training, workforce management and quality management. The company expects the facility to be fully staffed by the end of next year to help ensure OptumRx is prepared to serve millions of additional UnitedHealthcare employer and individual health plan participants.

“The technology at this facility, along with the commitment and know-how of our employees here, will help us fulfill our mission of making the health care system work better for everybody,” said Dirk McMahon, CEO of OptumRx. “An aging population and more people gaining access to health insurance mean more Americans will be using more prescription drugs, so the importance of our Tucson employees to our business will only increase.”

When hiring begins, people with health care or customer service experience are encouraged to apply for these new jobs.

For more information on OptumRx and their new jobs, visit their website at optum.com.

Dave Ramsey Podcast

Business Podcast: The Dave Ramsey Show 1/12/12

Dave Ramsey, a renown financial guru and speaker, delivers his daily radio show through podcasts hosted on his website and the iTunes store.

Utilizing interviews with others, call-ins from listeners, and more — Dave Ramsey gives a realistic perspective on how to properly handle your finances and the stresses that come along with doing that.

Dave RamseyFrom getting out of debt to building and maintaining wealth to managing your money, Ramsey covers practical financial topics for all demographics.

And who knows better than Ramsey?

A former debt-dependent citizen like most Americans, he sought out to broaden his financial horizons after losing everything he owned. Through his experiences, interviews and studies, Ramsey has turned into one of the most trusted financial gurus.

And he understands that the rest of America needs the same education that he has given himself, so he formed The Lampo Group in 1992.

Now, through his company and daily radio show, Ramsey aims to extend his knowledge and help those who are hurting with the same financial stresses he once had.

Take some time out of your day to tune into Ramsey’s show from January 12, 2012 by clicking the link below.

The Dave Ramsey Show – 1/12/12