Tag Archives: unemployment rate

rsz_countryclubgreens

68-Unit Apartment Community in Mesa Sells for $4M

 

 

Cassidy Turley completed the sale of Country Club Greens, a 68-unit apartment community on 2.4 acres at 350 W. 13th Place in Mesa for $4M.

The buyer was Clear Sky Capital CCG L.P. of  Phoenix and the seller was California Bank & Trust. Executive Vice Presidents David Fogler and Steven Nicoluzakis with Cassidy Turley Arizona’s Multi-Family Group brokered the transaction.

Built in 1986, the property has nine one bed/one bath and 59 two bed/two bath fully remodeled rental units that include new energy efficient appliances and upgraded kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

The complex also has a swimming pool and spa and on-site leasing office. Country Club Greens is located one mile south of the Loop 202 on Country Club.

In other news, Cassidy Turley completed a 2,800 SF lease for Voxpop, the shopper marketing radio network, at 2141 E. Camelback Rd.. Justin Himelstein and Jason France with Cassidy Turley Arizona’s Office Tenant Representation group represented Voxpop.

The marketing company relocated from an office at University and 35th St. to the Camelback Corridor submarket. Judith Tucker with Camroad Properties represented the landlord, Two Corners Financial Group, LLC.

Voxpop began in 2003 in Mexico and is the largest in-store marketing radio network reaching more than 40M people in more than 1,800 stores. In 2009 the company expanded its operations in the U.S.

The company currently has partnerships with retailers in Arizona, Texas and California, including Arizona-based Bashas’, AJ’s Fine Foods and Food City locations. Voxpop is a strategic messaging company that started by providing background music for stores and grew into providing targeted advertising and marketing messages for grocery customers.

The client list includes national companies such as Nestle, Coca-Cola, Tyson, General Mills and Kraft.

Economy

U.S. adds 155,000 jobs in December

U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff.

The solid job growth wasn’t enough to reduce the unemployment rate, which remained 7.8 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The rate for November was revised up from an initially reported 7.7 percent.

Each January, the government updates the monthly unemployment rates for the previous five years. The rates for most months don’t change.

The government said hiring was stronger in November than it first estimated. November’s job increases were revised up 15,000 to 161,000. October’s increase was nearly unchanged at 137,000.

The “gain is perhaps better than it looks given that firms were probably nervous about adding workers with the fiscal cliff looming,” said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.

Even so, hiring hasn’t been strong enough to quickly reduce still-high unemployment. The job gains for December almost exactly matched the average monthly pace for the past two years. Hiring has been steady but modest as the economy has grown slowly since the recession ended more than three years ago.

For 2012, employers added 1.84 million jobs, an average of 153,000 jobs a month, roughly matching the job totals for 2011.

Robust hiring in manufacturing and construction fueled the December job growth. Construction firms added 30,000, the most in 15 months. That increase likely reflected hiring needed to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy and also gains in home building that have contributed to a housing recovery.

Manufacturers added 25,000 jobs, the most in nine months.

Other higher-paying industries also added jobs. Professional and business services, which include positions in information technology, management and architecture, gained 19,000. Financial services added 9,000 and health care 55,000.

Lower-paying industry sectors were mixed. Restaurants and bars added 38,000 jobs. Retailers cut 11,300, a sign that the holiday shopping season might have been sluggish. But those cuts followed three months of strong gains.

All the job gains last month came from private employers. Governments shed 13,000 jobs, mostly in local school systems.

The stable hiring pace shows that employers didn’t panic during the high-stakes talks between Congress and the White House over tax increases and spending cuts that weren’t resolved until New Year’s.

That’s an encouraging sign for the coming months, because an even bigger federal budget showdown is looming. The government must increase its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit by around late February or risk defaulting on its debt. Republicans will likely demand deep spending cuts as the price of raising the debt limit.

employment

Arizona unemployment rate dips to 8.1 percent

Arizona’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down again, declining to 8.1 percent in October.

September’s rate was 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 percent the previous two months.

Department of Administration economists say the state gained 11,900 jobs in October. The increase is lower than the 10-average October increase of 16,900 jobs.

Both government and private sectors had below-average gains. Of the 11 economic sectors, six added jobs, four lost jobs and one remained unchanged.

The biggest gain was recorded by the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added 4,900 jobs. That sector typically adds jobs this time of year as retailers prepare for the upcoming holiday season.

Construction Employment

Construction Employment Declines By 1,000 In July As Industry Unemployment Rate Tumbles To 12.3%

Construction employment declined by 1,000 in July even though the industry’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since 2008, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The sector’s unemployment rate has steadily declined since 2009 as hundreds of thousands of out-of-work construction workers have left the industry seeking other opportunities, the association’s economist cautioned.

“Employment levels in the construction industry have remained relatively stagnant for 2-½ years,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The declining unemployment rate has more to do with frustrated job seekers leaving the industry than it does any improvement in demand for construction work.”

Industry employment in July was 1,000 lower than in June and only 5,000, or 0.1 percent, higher than one year earlier, the economist noted. There are now 5.5M construction workers employed across the country. Simonson noted, however, that construction employment patterns have varied among different industry segments.

A booming apartment sector and a revival — at least for now — in single-family homebuilding led to monthly and year-over-year gains in residential construction employment, Simonson noted. He added that total residential construction employment increased by 2,700 or 0.1% for the month and 12,400 (0.6%) compared with July 2011 levels.

Nonresidential construction employment was mixed, reflecting gains in highway and private nonresidential activity that were offset by shrinking public investment in schools and other infrastructure, Simonson continued. He said total nonresidential construction employment edged down by 3,800 (-0.1%) from June to July and 6,900 (-0.2%) over 12 months.

Within the nonresidential category, heavy and civil engineering construction firms added 6,200 workers (0.7%) in July and 10,800 (1.3%) since July 2011. In contrast, nonresidential specialty trade contractors shed 9,500 jobs (-0.5%) for the month and 19,200 (-1.0%) over 12 months. Nonresidential building contractors had mixed results, losing 500 employees (-0.1%) in July and adding 1,500 (0.2%) over the year.

The 12.3% unemployment rate for former construction workers was well below the rate in July 2011 (13.6%), 2010 (17.3%) and 2009 (18.2%), Simonson noted. He added that over those three years nearly 700,000 experienced workers have found jobs in other industries, returned to school, retired or otherwise left the workforce.

Association officials noted the industry was continuing to suffer from weak demand caused by slowing private sector growth and declining public sector investments in construction. “As long as the economy remains stagnant, construction employment levels will remain flat,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

WorldatWork 2011-2010 Salary Budget Survey

Salary Budget Survey: Salaries Can’t Keep Up With Inflation

WorldatWork’s 2011-2010 Salary Budget Survey - For the first time since 1980 the U.S. rate of inflation is higher than the average salary budget increase. During the 12-month period ending April 2011, the Consumer Price Index was 3.2%. Average pay increases for the same period? 2.8%.

Why haven’t pay increases kept up with the rate of inflation? A host of factors — particularly high unemployment – are conspiring to keep salary increase budgets low.

With the nation’s unemployment rate averaging 9.4 percent, the law of supply and demand is at play. Salaries may only see significant improvement if unemployment decreases, which would put pressure on employers to raise wages in order to stay competitive.

Successful organizations will not pay more than necessary for any expenditure, and with low risk of losing employees to other organizations, higher increases are not justified at this time,” explained Don Lindner, senior practice leader at WorldatWork, a global HR association headquartered in Arizona.

Skeptics need only look at companies in mining, quarrying, oil and gas. Because these industries are currently experiencing a shortage of skilled labor, their 2012 planned salary budgets are above average, at 4.1%.

U.S. employees in other industries, on the other hand, can expect average pay increases of 2.9% in 2012, though it may be closer to 4.0% for high performers.

About the Salary Budget Survey

The “WorldatWork 2011-2010 Salary Budget Survey” includes data from more than 2,400 participants, representing nearly 15 million U.S. employees. The data, collected in April 2011, represents a wide variety of U.S. companies and industries, distributed across all 50 states.

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%
Economic forecast

Economic Forecast Calls For Another Year Of Slow Recovery In 2011

Arizona’s economic recovery will continue to move at a glacial speed in 2011 — but at least it’s moving. The coming new year will see an increase in job creation, a rise in population and even a modest increase in single-family home permits. However, the consensus among economists at today’s 47th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon, co-sponsored by the Department of Economics at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase, is that Arizona’s recovery will continue to be far less robust than economic rebounds of the past.

“Arizona was much harder hit in this recession than the rest of the country,” 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. “Overall the U.S. lost about 6 percent of jobs, while Arizona lost 11 percent of jobs and the Greater Phoenix area lost 12 percent of jobs. So, by that measure, Arizona’s problems were twice as large as the average state.”

According to McPheters, hampering Arizona’s growth in 2010 has been:

  • Consumers’ focusing on paying off debt rather than spending
  • Corporate profits improving but hiring deferred
  • The expected resurgence in single-family housing did not develop
  • Home prices have not yet stabilized
  • Small businesses facing tight credit conditions and weak demand
  • Stimulus programs ending


Job Growth

In terms of job creation, Arizona employment is expected to increase by 47,800 jobs in 2011, following three straight years of losses. The projected rate of growth for 2011 is 2 percent. That’s about double the rate of employment growth anticipated for the nation as a whole, but well below the state’s long-term average of 3.7 percent.

In addition, the state’s unemployment rate will remain above the 9 percent mark throughout 2011.

Still, even with Arizona being at ground zero of the burst housing bubble that dragged the rest of the nation into recession, the employment situation in the state has shown a marked improvement.

“For all of 2009, at the deepest point of the recession, only Nevada had weaker labor market conditions, and Arizona ranked 49th among the states in job growth (or losses),” McPheters said. “But in just the past couple of months, Arizona’s overall position is improving. The state ranked 12th based on October job creation in the 50 states. And in September, Phoenix added 27,400 jobs compared to the year before. Phoenix is the now the second-fastest growing metro area.”

Real Estate

The real estate and housing markets in Arizona remain weak in 2010, with single-family housing permits expected to be down 5 percent, marking a fifth consecutive year of declines. Single-family housing permits are expected to finally improve next year, with an anticipated increase of 25 percent. However, that increase stems from a base of 12,000 units in 2010, totaling just an additional 3,000 units. Compare that paltry number to the 80,000 annual permits handed out at the peak of the housing boom.

“Last year at this time, there was optimism about Arizona housing, but the growth never came,” McPheters said. “It looks like 2010 single-family building won’t even reach the level of 2009, which was the worst year of the recession. So most analysts are cautious right now about housing.”

One of those cautious analysts is Elliott Pollack, CEO of Elliott D. Pollack & Company in Scottsdale.

“The good news is that the worst is over, but it’s going to be a painfully slow recovery,” Pollack said in an interview before the forecast luncheon.

Pollack lists the following as reasons why the state’s housing market is showing only the slightest signs of improvement:

  • Tougher underwriting standards on mortgages
  • Up to 51 percent of the homes in Arizona have negative equity
  • Previous loan modifications have mostly failed
  • Foreclosures remain high
  • Option ARM resets do not peak until next year


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%
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%

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%

unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6 percent after the economy lost 54,000 jobs in August

Nation’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

The nation’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6 percent after the economy lost 54,000 jobs in August.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today that government employment fell as a result of shedding 114,000 temporary workers hired for the Census. Private-sector payroll employment rose by 67,000.

“The August jobs report, albeit tepid, does show the economy is holding steady, despite speculation to the contrary,” says Frank Armendariz, Arizona regional director at Manpower. “This is consistent with what I’m seeing in the market, as well as what the quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS) has been reporting for the past three quarters. Our quarterly MEOS survey measures employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their work force during the next quarter, and we’ve seen consistent results in our Phoenix-area survey this year.”

According to the BLS, the number of jobless Americans stands at 14.9 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those who have been out of work 27 weeks or more) declined last month by 323,000 to 6.2 million. In August, 42 percent of the nation’s unemployed had not worked for 27 weeks or more.

Government employment fell by 121,000, largely due to the loss of Census 2010 workers. Total private employment continued a rising trend. The BLS reports that since its most recent low in December 2009, private-sector employment has risen by 763,000.

“The fact that we’ve seen eight straight months of private-sector job growth is very encouraging and is consistent with what I’m seeing — employers are continuing to hire each quarter, but in limited quantities, with a majority of firms holding steady with their current labor force,” Armendariz says. “This is an improvement from last year when we were seeing mass layoffs and very little hiring.”

Employment gains were seen in health care, mining and construction. The manufacturing sector lost jobs, while employment in retail trade was essentially unchanged.

“The recession brought about huge changes in the labor market in a very short period of time,” Armendariz says. “Now we’re seeing new jobs come back very slowly. At the current pace, it will take years for us to get back to pre-recession employment levels. As a result, the limited labor market growth we’re experiencing feels almost imperceptible in comparison to the free fall we took in the wrong direction last year.”

The State’s Economic Forecast For The Rest Of The Year - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

The State’s Economic Forecast For The Rest Of The Year Calls For An Agonizingly Slow Recovery

Ready to heave a sigh of relief over Arizona’s economy? Go ahead — but don’t get carried away. Some observers expect the second half of this year will bring positive signs that the economy is recovering, turning the dial toward even stronger growth in 2011 and 2012. Others aren’t so sure the state’s recession is in the rear-view mirror yet, and that a quick rebound is in the cards. Two of Arizona’s leading economists, Marshall Vest and Lee McPheters, disagree on how this year will shake out and how quickly a full recovery will be reached.

Half full

Vest, an economist at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, believes Arizona’s economy hit bottom at the end of 2009. He forecasts retail sales will increase 5 percent this year and 10 percent in 2011. Home builders are buying back land they sold a few years ago and preparing for new construction. The housing market is improving “fairly rapidly,” with sales of existing homes up and housing prices stabilizing.

“Housing prices will continue to move up because they are well-below trend,” Vest says. “New-home permits are off the bottom, but I don’t see a whole lot of upward potential until we have absorbed all the vacant houses.”

He estimates inventory at 120,000 homes statewide.

As for that other troublesome spot in the economy, jobs, unemployment dropped to 9.5 percent in April, and may already have peaked.

“I think we’ll see slow improvement in the number of unemployed,” Vest says. “But it probably will be two or three years before we get the (unemployment) rate below 6 percent.”

He expects the hospitality industry, wholesale trade, and the professional and business services sector to show employment gains the second half of this year. New jobs will attract more people to Arizona and Vest predicts the state’s population will grow by 2.5 percent in 2012.

“I don’t expect to see the 4 and 4.5 percent growth from the last expansion because the population base is so large now,” Vest says. “But a 2.5 percent increase is a lot of people.”

Although he says it will take years to repair the damage, Vest sees better days ahead, with the economy in full recovery by 2013.

“This year simply sets the stage for much stronger and broad-based growth in 2011,” he notes. “We should see some significant growth in most sectors of the economy in 2011 and 2012. The areas growing fastest likely will be professional and business services, trade, hospitality, health care and residential construction.”

However, commercial real estate and the public sector will continue to be a drag on the economy, according to Vest.

“Tax revenues lag at least a year behind an economy that is recovering,” he says. “It will be at least a year, maybe two or three, before state and local government regains its footing.”

Half empty

McPheters, research professor of economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, thinks Arizona’s recession is still in play as measured by employment. Reaching 2.7 million jobs, the peak of employment in 2007, indicates a full recovery, McPheters says. More jobs may be lost this year — perhaps 24,000 — and 2010 could close out with 2.4 million people employed.

“So 2010 is another recession year,” he notes.

McPheters sees recovery in three to four years. Full recovery could come in 2013 if Arizona averages 3.7 percent job growth between now and then, McPheters says. Three percent job growth means recovery in 2014.

Arizona’s economy likely will creak along at its trough through the second half of the year but “2011 should be a year when home prices, population and jobs show modest improvement,” McPheters says.

He forecasts a gain of 48,000 jobs next year, a 2 percent increase over 2010. Population should grow 1.8 percent, a nudge of 0.3 percent. Homebuilders will take out 17,800 single-family housing permits this year and 28,480 next year, but “you would expect Arizona to generate 40,000 to 50,000 permits in a ‘normal year,’ ” McPheters says. “The housing recovery really hasn’t unfolded the way I thought it would.”

He won’t forecast retail sales until he has more data in hand.

A labor shortage?

Dennis Hoffman, professor of economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business, sees more questions than answers in Arizona’s immediate future.

“If you look at any kind of model about Arizona, you see significant growth coming in 2011 and 2012,” Hoffman says. “But that is nothing more than a reflection of history. The question is, are the dynamics that drove (economic) bounces in the past in place this time? This one may be different.”

Arizona’s rapid-paced recoveries from prior recessions “were fueled by the immediate availability of an abundant supply of undocumented cheap labor,” Hoffman says. “With Arizona’s attitude toward undocumented laborers, it’s pretty clear that abundant undocumented workers may be a headwind for us.”

With much of their assets tied up in real estate, Arizonans suffered “wealth erosion of massive proportions” as home prices slid 40 percent to 60 percent, Hoffman adds. Personal spending cratered and tax revenues plunged. Hoffman says the country’s household wealth fell 3 percent from December 1928 to December 1929 during the Great Depression. National wealth deteriorated 17 percent from December 2007 to December 2008 during the current recession, and Arizona was at least twice that bad, he notes.

“If we could regain consumer confidence and begin consuming close to historical norms, you’re talking between $14 billion and $16 billion in taxable spending,” Hoffman says. “That would do a lot to cure the ills of our very wounded economy.”

Arizona must become a magnet for new residents again, according to Hoffman, because in-migration fuels tax receipts as new arrivals buy homes, cars, furniture and other goods and services.

Residents needed

Indeed, economist Elliott Pollack, CEO of Elliott D. Pollack & Company, says Arizona will recover only if more people relocate to the state.

“We won’t need another square foot of housing, we won’t need another square foot of office space if people don’t move here,” Pollack says. “I expected population inflows to slow, but I never dreamed it would come to a screeching halt.”

Arizona’s total population growth (in-migration, plus births, minus deaths) was 3.1 percent in 2007 and 0.8 percent in 2009, Pollack says, noting that population will pick up slowly over the next four or five years.

He adds that Arizona’s recovery will be gradual and painful because the national recovery will be sluggish.

“Consumers are not nearly as able to spend as they have coming out of past recessions because they have to pay down debt and increase savings,” Pollack says. “That is not something they had to do in past recoveries.”

Becoming business friendly

Don Cardon, director of the Arizona Department of Commerce, sees “significant things happening in invisible areas.” He is bullish on the re-emergence of investment capital in Arizona this year.

“I am sincerely positive about what’s anticipated for the third and fourth quarters,” Cardon says. “I think we will see a re-engagement of capital streams, a softening of the ability of large investors to be interested in Arizona industry.”

Large investors will “beta test” the state and then secondary investors will decide they “have been out of the water way too long,” Cardon says. He sees Arizona businesses gaining traction over the next year. He also believes new capital will flow to energy-related industries, particularly renewable energy, the technology sector, small business and entrepreneurial ventures.

Last year, Gov. Jan Brewer appointed a commerce advisory council to identify an economic development model for the state and, following the group’s recommendations, has proposed scrapping the Commerce Department and replacing it with a so-called public-private commerce authority. Cardon says the authority would give Arizona a vital ingredient for improving the economy — focus.

“(The authority) has received unparalleled favor across party lines and in all sectors of business because it represents a sense of focus,” Cardon says. “We’re saying that at the state level, we haven’t been focused and we lost our connection with legislative support and confidence.”

Once necessary laws are passed to establish the authority, it “will create a tool for the private sector to say, ‘I understand this. We can count on them.’ We will go from an intangible entity to something that is specific and highly energized,” Cardon says.

The authority will emphasize energy and business attraction, retention and expansion, he says.

A boost to Arizona’s competitive position is critical to an economic recovery, and a statewide economic development program backed by a supportive tax policy is overdue, says Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. In the meantime, he believes Arizona’s economy will bounce back “quicker than people realize, that it will be strong and that it will result in a faster rate of job recovery than economists are projecting for Phoenix and Arizona.”

Over the next year and a half, Broome says, Arizona will develop a full-fledged, renewable-energy cluster and transform itself into a solar energy hub; health care will experience a strong expansion with emphasis on information technology and telemedicine; and the aerospace market will hold its own. In addition, Broome expects an uptick in regional headquarter activity.

www.azcommerce.com | www.ebr.eller.arizona.edu |www.elliottpollack.com | www.gpec.org | www.wpcarey.asu.edu

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Oath

Thunderbird School Of Global Management Continues To Deliver In-Demand Education

Managers consumed with maximizing short-term profits and the value of their stock options have destroyed billions of dollars in shareholder and taxpayer money. A culture of greed lies at the root of this economic meltdown that has seen banks collapse, markets tank and unemployment rates soar.

The aftershocks of this global disaster continue to claim victims, and companies around the world are scrambling to brace themselves for the uncertain times ahead. The survivors will be those who are properly equipped to navigate the economic crisis with strong, ethical leadership, innovative global mindsets and sustainable strategies that will solidify their long-term viability and create lasting value for their organizations and the communities they serve.

With this in mind, the Thunderbird School of Global Management continues to create innovative ways to deliver relevant and in-demand education to companies and executives in a market where the need for continuing education is great, but company resources are slim.

Thunderbird Corporate Learning, the executive education division of the school, already has begun tailoring its programs to help companies and organizations navigate this financial crisis, including a new global leadership certificate program called Leading and Managing in Turbulent Times. This program helps global leaders understand what elements of management have changed during the economic downturn — and what things never change. A 12-week session began in March, and a three-day concentrated version took place in May.

The program, taught by Thunderbird faculty members who have extensive first-hand experience working with global managers, will help students broaden their understanding of global business issues that are transforming the international landscape. The program will arm students with useful decision-making tools for increased job performance, and help them build more effective cross-cultural relationships by giving them insights into how the economic crisis is affecting different cultures, regions and markets.

The program will also take topics such as corporate social responsibility, international marketing, organizational culture and financial management and relate them to the economic crisis.

Another new executive education program will debut June 9. Communicating and Negotiating with a Global Mindset is a three-day course that will help working professionals develop strategies for influencing people from other cultural backgrounds. Participants will learn their own global mindset profile and develop an understanding of their own negotiating preferences. The need for such skills has been amplified in the global economic crisis as companies scramble for competitive advantages.

Helping social sector organizations get through the crisis is another area in which Thunderbird has extended its offerings. The Thunderbird Social Sector Leadership Program conducted in March with the support of a grant from the American Express Foundation, reached out to nonprofit, governmental and nongovernmental organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the International Rescue Committee and the Grameen Foundation.

The five-day program guided participants on how to develop new leadership skills in these tough economic times with training in leadership, sustainability, strategy, brand management, fundraising and innovation. The program, designed solely for a group of nonprofits, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, is the first executive education program of its kind for Thunderbird, and the school is hoping to use it as a model for similar opportunities in the future.

Keeping in mind that times are tough and resources are tight, Thunderbird has launched a free, interactive Web site and quarterly executive newsletter, which are both designed to help busy global executives navigate this economic crisis. The Thunderbird Knowledge Network is an interactive, multimedia forum that gives executives open access to the expertise and insights of Thunderbird’s faculty, alumni and other corporate executives around the world on the latest, most relevant global business issues and trends, including the global recession. This content is delivered in stories, columns, videos, podcasts and blogs, including my blog on global leadership. Each posting in the Knowledge Network offers an opportunity for reader comments and feedback.

Executives also can tap Thunderbird’s global business knowledge through the school’s new Executive Newsletter, a free electronic newsletter that is distributed quarterly to busy working professionals, including the school’s corporate clients and alumni.

money in vice

The Economic Recovery Begins In 2009, But It Will Be Slow Going

The national and state economies are expected to start feeling the effects of a recovery during the last quarter of 2009. However, the recovery over the next year will be slow, with unemployment continuing to rise and economic growth anemic at best. Meanwhile, the state’s expenditures are rising, even as revenue continues to fall, setting the stage for future budget cuts and an expected tax increase.

That was the consensus forecast unveiled by top economic experts from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and the Arizona governor’s office at the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon on May 20. Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at W.P. Carey and editor of Economy@W.P. Carey, provided an overview of current economic conditions on the state and national level, and offered a forecast for the coming year.
“The economy is going to show some signs of recovery in the last part of 2009, but the way I like to look at this is that lots of our economic indicators will still be underwater in a sense — they just won’t be as far underwater,” he said. “We’ll probably see positive growth in GDP, we will see job losses getting smaller, but there will still be job losses. There will still be people claiming unemployment insurance and, of course, unemployment rates will still be going up.
“It’s going to be a deep, sort of U-shaped recovery and 2011 will probably be a pretty good year of job growth,” McPheters added. 
In the meantime, job losses will continue to mount. In March, with an over-the-year employment decline of 7.1 percent and 136,000 jobs lost, the Valley just edged out Detroit as the weakest large metro labor market in the nation. And even as the economy begins to recover, the Greater Phoenix area will still see its labor market contract by 1 percent in 2010, according to McPheters.
Nationally, McPheters stressed that while the current recession has been painful, it still is not on par with the Great Depression. The Great Depression was marked by four consecutive years of decreases in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the current recession is expected to result in four consecutive quarters of decrease in inflation-adjusted GDP. In fact, in the first year of the recession, the national GDP actually increased by 1.1 percent.
“During 2008, the first year of the recession, you would expect that the GDP would be decreasing,” he said. “Well, one of the factors holding it up was exports. Exports continued strong in the United States through 2008.”
This year, however, exports are expected to drop by 10 percent. That’s just one example of how the national and state economies will continue to struggle as the recovery begins to take hold. Another example is the expected freefall in the commercial real estate market, especially in Arizona.
“Commercial is the next shoe to drop and we have seen this pattern before,” McPheters said. “Even as you see residential (construction) begin to pick up, I think you can expect that commercial building is going to be very, very weak all the way through 2010 and probably 2011, because what we need to see is population growth come back and job growth to come back. There’s no point in building retail space and office space if the jobs are not there and the consumer is not coming out to shop.”
And it is consumers, who account for 71 percent of GDP, who really hold the key to the economic recovery.
“The consumer is the only part of this economy that can bring us back,” McPheters said. “Consumers are not going to come back into the game until home prices stop falling, until the stock market stabilizes, until they see unemployment rates have peaked out and job losses start to get smaller and smaller. And the consumer has to have confidence to buy, and believe it or not, the consumer has to back off of their inclination to save their money.”
In March, the savings rate as a percent of disposable income was 4.2 percent, up from 2.6 percent six months earlier. While increased savings are considered a good thing in robust economic times, a pullback by consumers as an economy tanks can have devastating effects. McPheters pointed out that for each 1 percent increase in the savings rate, approximately $100 billion are being pulled out of the consumer-spending stream.
However, McPheters expressed confidence that the very calamity that sent our state and national economies reeling will eventually add to Arizona’s attractiveness to new residents and businesses — falling home prices.
“Housing prices have now returned to the traditional level, where Arizona housing prices are now more affordable than the national average,” he said. “In 2005 and 2006, we had come to the point where we were one of the least affordable markets. That has turned around and it has turned around very quickly. Of course that has been very painful.”

Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at W.P. Carey, agreed with McPheters, adding that he believes the state’s economic rebound will be strong.

“This of course is the big question: What kind of bounce will take place? Now, I’ll have to say that the dramatic shakeout in prices in housing, while it has been absolutely disastrous for a number of folk and put a lot of pressure in a lot of different places, it might set us up for a more robust recovery than I would have thought six to nine months ago,” he said. “The thinking is really, very, very simple; an attractive attribute of Arizona has historically been great climate, affordable housing and a place to get a job. That third aspect really doesn’t exist right now, but it could exist if our economy recovers at a little faster pace.”
In the economic downturns of the past four decades, Arizona has bounced back strongly, and Hoffman is confident history will repeat itself, especially if the state and Valley can re-create the environments that people from around the country have found so attractive.

However, a major wrench in making the state attractive again is Arizona’s current budget crunch. In fiscal year 2009, the state’s budget gap stands at $1.6 billion. In fiscal year 2010, that’s expected to almost double to $3 billion dollars. As the economy has worsened, unemployment has soared to almost 8 percent, foreclosures have skyrocketed and businesses have closed their doors. As a result, billions of dollars in revenue from income, property, sales and business taxes have evaporated. Conversely the need for state services has exploded.

“We’re really seeing the effects of the downturn in the economy, both in terms of state revenues — our collections are down at a very significant rate — and likewise, our caseloads are up at a very significant rate, because more of our citizens are in need of services,” said Eileen Klein, director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, adding that in the past two months alone the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has enrolled 50,000 people.
Hoffman pointed out that in the past, $48 to $50 out of every $1,000 of personal income had gone into the state’s general fund.

Keep Workers Working

Ways To Keep Workers Working In A Troubled Economy

Our current job market is struggling through one of the worst periods of unemployment in memory. The unemployment rate continues to creep toward the unspeakable double digits, a number not reached in Arizona for more than 25 years. Whatever name is attached — downsizing, rightsizing, re-sizing, layoff, offboarding, reduction-in-force, restructuring — the result is the same: lost jobs in the name of economic turmoil that has no conscience.

Whether you are amazed at the statistics or whether you are one, there is no doubt you have watched the economy take a frightening toll on your workplace. Those who are fortunate enough to still earn a paycheck have had to watch their co-workers walked out in myriad reduction-in-force actions that have dominated news media from California to Florida. Few companies have been spared in their attempts to balance their books by slashing one of the most expensive items on their check register — payroll costs. It’s an ugly story that plays out in all corners, and there is little confidence that the worst of the cutbacks is behind us.

Local public job assistance resources have been overwhelmed. According to Patrick Burkhart, assistant director at Maricopa Workforce Connections, the no-charge centers have approached capacity in their attempts to provide local job seekers with a head start on hunting for new positions. The MWC has experienced a 100 percent increase in year-over-year traffic in its centers, which currently assist up to 500 job seekers per day in each of the two “one stop” centers. While laid-off workers range from the highly skilled to laborers, preparing them for their next opportunity is often an exercise in futility. With so few available positions, and no job growth predicted for 2009, it becomes a cruel parody of “all dressed up and no place to go.”

Corporate executives cannot be blamed for adding to this unemployment quagmire. Their directive is to ensure financial survival through any legitimate means available. For most, that means a consideration of reducing work force costs, which may include not only wages, but also significant associated costs of health and welfare benefits, matching 401(k) contributions, profit sharing, tuition reimbursement, training or other company-provided benefits or perks. There is also an indirect impact on the company; a deterioration of employee loyalty, decreased customer confidence, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of apprehension among employees in fearing a loss of their own jobs. The result may have an effect on employee productivity and in retaining and attracting the best and brightest talent for the future.

It is no wonder then that reducing headcount is considered a last resort among decision makers. But what should companies do to prevent having to announce the dreaded “L” word, as 60 percent of surveyed U.S. companies plan to do in 2009, and thereby disrupt internal work operations for perhaps the long term? Executives first need to create a realistic vision of the direction of their business, attempt to recognize the timing of the “bottom” for their industry, and then set a plan in place to preserve a profit margin that will sustain the business. This analysis has become the key leadership initiative that guides decision making, and may ultimately affect the survival of the company.

It is said that desperate times call for desperate measures. If so, companies are often cornered into making tough sacrifices in the name of survival. Human resources can play an integral role in the strategic analysis of the business plan, and while cost reductions must be considered to save jobs, there may also be time for process improvement opportunities.

Among budget initiatives to be considered:
Freeze unnecessary discretionary spending — Travel for other than customer visits, employee “business” lunches, social events, overtime, temporary help, consultants, new software, advertising, and conferences or training that are not critical can be curtailed.

Wage considerations — In addition to a bonus and wage freeze, consider a salary reduction, perhaps only for those earning above a targeted salary. Depending on work requirements, consider a reduced workweek in exchange for the wage reduction, or have a temporary company shutdown. Suspend any policy that allows employees to cash-in vacation or paid time off (PTO) accruals, and instead mandate they use the time.

Company contributions to employee programs — For companies that need to make a more serious dent in expenditures, cutbacks may be made in the health care plan design, tuition reimbursement, 401(k) match, or company paid life insurance or disability plans.

Don’t expect employees to express appreciation for these types of actions, but every wage earner in today’s work force understands the reality of a balance sheet and its affect on his or her job. While employees usually bear the brunt of company cutbacks, there are actions HR can propose that might soften the impact.

Cross training and skill enhancement — A business slowdown is an excellent time to prepare employees to assume additional job skills for the future through on-the-job cross training.

Solicit employee input — Using employees to provide savings suggestions will enhance their buy-in and may even improve morale. Above all else, they want to keep their jobs and when viewed as a partnership with the company, will help foster mutual respect.

Job transfer — Either as an assignment of temporary resources or a long-term solution to unbalanced workloads, employees may be interested in moving to a new function with a different career path.

Communicate — Employees may be more understanding of the company’s plight if they are able to share the news along the way with no surprises.

Today, we still find ourselves in the middle of a sluggish economy that has turned into a marathon, but the finish line must be somewhere down the road. Leaders who can see that far will make the right strategic decisions in the best interest of their organization and its employees. Those who consistently communicate that vision, and take action to save jobs wherever possible, will find a loyal work force ready and willing to enjoy better times ahead.

Dark Days: Recession in Arizona

The Recession In Arizona And The Nation Could Drag On For Another Year

Winters in Arizona may be sunnier than other places, but the economy in the Grand Canyon State has cooled faster than almost every state. Analysts expect 2009 to bring even more bad economic news, and it is likely that the monthly reports on job growth and unemployment will be downright chilling for some time to come.

As in all downturns in the past 50 years, Arizona’s economy will track the national business cycle. There are no forces inherent in the makeup of the state’s economy that would propel Arizona into an independent turnaround. Arizona will recover at approximately the same time as the country as a whole.

And, entering 2009, a rebound for the national economy is nowhere in sight. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently decreed that we have been in recession since the end of 2007. Now that a start date has been identified, it is only natural to wonder how long recessions typically last. The answer is that the average post-World War II recession has been 10 months from peak to trough. This information is perhaps useful for trivia buffs, but in the current environment, the 10-month average is not much of a guideline. This recession has already persisted past 10 months, and may be well on its way to setting a post-war record for length. The recession will certainly be 18 months at a minimum, and could persist for as long as 24 months. Or more.

The list of economic problems facing the country and Arizona continues to grow. Until recently, exports and non-residential building were actually expanding at a double-digit pace, keeping the Gross Domestic Product growth figures in the positive region. As the global economy slows, exports will decrease, probably early in 2009. Arizona has important manufacturing exports, especially in high technology, that will be affected.

Non-residential building (commercial, office, and warehousing) will grind to a halt in 2009 as current projects are completed. When the economy is losing jobs and sales are falling, there is no need for additional offices, retail space or warehouses.

During the first half of 2008, consumers in Arizona and the nation continued to spend, and that bolstered growth. New unemployment claims were mounting during this period, but conditions would have been worse if consumers were not contributing to the economy. The credit crunch hit in the second half of 2008. Combined with a chaotic stock market and continually falling home values, consumer willingness — and ability — to spend hit the breaking point. Arizona retail sales were down sharply in 2008, with auto sales and restaurant and bar sales both off by 25 percent. Consumer spending is expected to fall more during the early months of 2009.

Compared to other states, Arizona’s labor markets are in the deep freeze. Employment in the state is down by more than 75,000 jobs compared to last year at this time. Arizona is just one of 37 states now losing jobs, but conditions are worse here. Arizona ranks 49th among all states in job growth. Only Rhode Island is losing jobs more rapidly. Unemployment rates nationally and in Arizona are destined to increase into the 7 percent or possibly 8 percent range before recovery begins.

And recovery will come, as it always does in business cycles, although this one will be deeper and longer than has been seen since the 1930s. Housing inventory will eventually be worked off, and foreclosures will begin to slow. Home prices will stabilize. The nation adds three million new residents per year, and the pent-up demand created by family formation and population growth will start to translate into new sales.

Arizona benefits from high levels of domestic migration. Even if migration slows temporarily in the down period, the basic attractions of Arizona remain powerful in the longer term.

One of these attractions for many decades has been affordable housing. During the housing boom, home prices in Phoenix increased faster than in many peer metropolitan areas, and Phoenix became less competitive to relocators. Although falling values have caused dismay to Arizona home owners, the resulting new lower prices actually create an environment for ultimate growth.

The table shows housing affordability as measured by the National Association of Homebuilders. Higher numbers indicate housing is more affordable. At the end of the previous recession (third quarter of 2001) Phoenix had an affordability value of 70, which means 70 percent of homes were affordable to families at the median Phoenix income. Phoenix housing was more affordable than the nation and the peer metro areas shown. Two years later, at the peak of the boom, Phoenix was less affordable than Denver, Riverside, Calif., and the nation as a whole. But the most recent values, for third quarter 2008, show Phoenix affordability up by 75 percent over the 2005 figure, and more affordable than the other metro areasandthe nation. The Phoenix housing advantage has been restored.

There is one final optimistic observation to be made, one which is familiar to Arizona economy-watchers. When recovery does begin, Arizona invariably rebounds much stronger than the nation, and more vigorously than most other states. What analysts are still debating is whether this rebound will come in 2009 or is delayed until early in 2010.