Tag Archives: Westin La Paloma Resort

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Tucson economy expected to outpace U.S. by 2017

Tucson’s economic growth is expected to outpace the national economy by 2017. That was a key message during today’s University of Arizona Eller College of Management 2015 Mid-Year Economic Update Breakfast at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson.

More than 330 people attended the event to hear presenters George W. Hammond, Ph.D., director and research professor at UA Eller’s Economic and Business Research Center, and Roberto Coronado, Ph.D., assistant vice president and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-El Paso branch, give a mid-year assessment of economic conditions relating to job growth, the housing sector, gas prices, economic relations with Mexico and more.

Hammond, who predicted in December 2014 that Tucson’s job growth will gradually improve by 2016, said job growth is predicted to accelerate from 0.5 percent last year to 0.9 percent this year, and rise again to 1.4 percent in 2016. Job growth is expected to continue in 2017, helping to fuel Tucson’s economy as it outpaces the national economy.

“Tucson’s employment was up 4,000 jobs over the year in April and it is forecasted to add 3,400 jobs this year and 5,200 jobs in 2016,” Hammond said. “Most of the new jobs will be gained in the service sectors, such as health services, trade, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services.”

Coronado’s visit to Tucson marked the first time he participated in a UA event. His presentation focused on Mexico, with a special emphasis on the border economy.

“After a strong recovery from the so-called Great Recession, Mexico’s economy entered a soft patch since the second half of 2013,” Coronado said. “Mexico’s economy has been gaining momentum since the second half of 2014, but growth has been moderate at best.”

U.S.-Mexico trade flows reached record high levels in 2014 at more than $530 billion, representing exports plus imports. “Automotive is the top trading sector as Mexico has made significant inroads into the North American auto manufacturing industry,” he said.

Other key topics covered at the June 3 breakfast included:

•Arizona Exports: State exports to Mexico rose by 22.2 percent in 2014. However, the recent appreciation of the U.S. dollar versus the peso will slow state export growth in 2016. The dollar/peso exchange rate is up by 16.3 percent from April 2014.
•Gas Prices: Low gas prices are increasing the funds available to households to spend and save. If prices remain $1 per gallon below 2014 levels, it could free up $368 per person in Tucson. Preliminary indications suggest that U.S. households are choosing to save, rather than spend, a significant portion of those funds.
•Fiscal Drag: Federal fiscal drag has diminished, but continues to weigh on the local economy. It is now joined by fiscal drag from the state and local sector.
•Mexico’s Structural Reforms: Mexico has been working on structural reforms since the 1980s.  This process accelerated since 2012 as Mexico has engaged in an aggressive structural reform agenda. Macroeconomic stability has been achieved mostly due to three factors: central bank independence; fiscal discipline; and openness to trade.  In spite of this, per capita income growth remains weak.   Therefore, the new reforms are needed to spur growth.

During the presentation, Hammond also shared updates regarding the Arizona-Mexico Economic Indicators website, azmex.eller.arizona.edu, which was launched in December 2014. Generous support from the Arizona-Mexico Commission, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Department of Transportation, and the Arizona Office of Tourism now allows Eller’s Economic and Business Research Center to provide the latest data benchmarking important economic relationships between Arizona and Mexico.

Arizona-Mexico Economic Indicators focuses on Arizona’s trade with Mexico, assessment of the role of Arizona’s border ports of entry (BPOE) in the U.S.-Mexico border region, and monitoring key indicators of Mexico’s economy. Six major sections capture the dynamics of Arizona’s trade and competitiveness: Arizona Trade, Border Crossings by Border Port of Entry, Commodity Flows by Border Port of Entry, the Economy, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and Population.

As the presentation came to a close, Hammond was optimistic about the future.

“Overall, Tucson will benefit during the next few years from faster U.S. growth, which will contribute to increased residential mobility across the nation and improved population gains locally,” he said. “The addition of more residents will boost housing and related sectors, which have lagged since the end of the recession.”

Sam_Fox_Portriat_2012

Sam Fox is UA Eller’s Executive of the Year

Sam Fox, CEO and Founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts, will be recognized as the 2015 University of Arizona Executive of the Year on Friday, April 17. The luncheon takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Westin La Paloma Resort, 3800 East Sunrise, in Tucson.

“Sam studied real estate finance at the University of Arizona, but food was always his passion,” said UA Eller College Dean Jeffrey Schatzberg. “Since opening his first restaurant, Gilligan’s Bar & Grill, in Tucson at age 20, he has earned an outstanding reputation as a creative visionary, savvy entrepreneur and philanthropist – values we share here at the Eller College. It is only fitting that we honor him as Executive of the Year.”

Fox’s restaurant group currently boasts 44 locations and 15 unique concepts spanning seven states. Tucson’s Wildflower American Cuisine was the company’s first concept. Now based in Phoenix, Fox Restaurant Concepts includes Blanco Tacos & Tequila, True Food Kitchen, The Henry, Flower Child, North Italia, Culinary Dropout and several other popular restaurants. Together, his restaurant group employs nearly 4,000 people.

A Sabino High School graduate, Fox is an eight-time James Beard Award nominee for Restaurateur of the Year and a New York Times best-selling cookbook author. He was recently named one of the 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry by Nation’s Restaurant News for the second consecutive year and he was the 2014 recipient of the Richard Melman Innovator of the Year Award by Restaurant Hospitality magazine.

A Paradise Valley resident, he nourishes and grows talent through his “un-corporate” culture and shares his success by giving back to the communities his restaurants serve. He has been an avid supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs since his company’s inception in 1998 and recently held the position of honorary chair for the American Heart Association’s 2013 Heart Ball. In addition, Fox Restaurant Concepts supports several non-profit organizations including notMYkid and UMOM New Day Centers.

The University of Arizona Executive of the Year program was established by the Eller College National Board of Advisors in 1983 to honor individuals who exemplify executive qualities in private enterprise and public service. Recent honorees include Janet Napolitano, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and former Arizona Governor (2014); Larry Baer, president and CEO of the San Francisco Giants (2013); former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (2012); and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (2011).

Tickets are $85 per person. Registration is at www.eller.arizona.edu/eoy. For more information, call (520) 621-0053.

An Aerial Shot of Downtown Tucson, Arizona

Experts: Tucson economy is set to grow in 2015

Things are looking up for Tucson, with an economy that is set to grow in 2015 and 2016. That was one of the key takeaways from today’s University of Arizona Eller College of Management annual Economic Outlook Forecast Luncheon at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson. Some 540 people packed the room to hear presenters George W. Hammond, director and research professor at Eller’s Economic and Business Research Center, and Anthony Chan, Chase chief economist, share their predictions regarding job growth, the housing sector, the stock market, interest rates and more.

Despite some stumbling at the start of 2014, the year behind us helped set the stage for growth. To put things into perspective, Anthony Chan spoke first, providing an in-depth analysis of the national and global economy.

“In 2015, we expect more support from the central banks of Europe and China and less support from the United States. Such action is likely to generate faster global growth and better performing equity markets in Europe as the Euro-zone recovers to something approaching 1 percent growth,” Chan said. “As for China, we expect some improvement despite the effects of restructuring of that economy, but acknowledge that financial markets have already front-loaded some of the expected positive monetary and fiscal policy effects.”
In the case of the United States, Chan said growth closer to 3 percent is likely as the current growth momentum spills over into 2015, especially as faster consumer spending is supported by the recent plunge in energy prices.
“Finally, led by Brazil, we expect that Latin America will continue to lag the overall improvement in global economic growth,” he said.
Locally, Tucson’s economy is forecast to expand again next year and “even pick up a little steam,” according to Hammond. In his presentation, entitled “Battling Headwinds,” Hammond gave a comprehensive overview of current economic conditions, breaking down factors that slow growth and pointing to indicators that will fuel future acceleration.

Tucson added jobs and residents during the past year, continuing its recovery from the Great Recession. “The metropolitan area added 4,200 jobs during the past four quarters, which translates into a rate of 1.2 percent. That job growth is a positive sign, but it was below the state and national growth rates, of 2.0 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively,” he said.

Most of the job gains during the past year came in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, education and health services, and financial activities. Tucson experienced job losses in construction and manufacturing.

“Construction continues to be the missing link in the recovery, with employment running at levels last seen in the mid-1990s. Slow population and household gains have dampened residential real estate activity during the past year,” Hammond said.

Also dragging down local growth has been significant federal fiscal drag, in the form of declining employment and reduced federal procurement spending. Federal fiscal drag affects Tucson more than the nation as a whole, because federal activity (civilian and military) is a larger share of the local economy. “Indeed, according to the latest data, the federal government sector accounted for 7.7 percent of Tucson’s gross domestic product in 2012, more than double the national share,” he said.

The outlook calls for Tucson job growth to gradually improve, rising from 0.8 percent in 2014 to 1.3 percent by 2016. That reflects modest improvements in net migration and less federal fiscal drag. Rising job and population growth raise income gains, which support additional local spending.

During his presentation, Hammond encouraged the audience to utilize the new Making Action Possible for Southern Arizona (MAP) interactive website, mapazdashboard.arizona.edu. The project, which launched on Dec. 5, is a partnership between Eller’s Economic and Business Research Center, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.
The goal of the website is to measure progress and inspire action. MAP users will find real-time data visualization and analysis for 36 socio-economic indicators grouped into six categories: Economy, Education, Health and Social Well-Being, Infrastructure, Quality of Place, and Workforce and Demographics. Users can compare Southern Arizona to the U.S., states in the West, and select metropolitan areas.

“There are so many ways MAP can benefit our community. Examine the data to drive business decisions, build collaboration or cross-sector partnerships,” Hammond said. “Or, analyze the data to help shape and pursue effective policies or seek external funding opportunities.”

Hammond closed his presentation with an upbeat prediction. “Overall, Tucson continues to battle headwinds, but the local economy is growing and moving forward,” he said.

For more information or to view Dr. Hammond’s slide presentation, visit Eller’s Economic and Business Research website, ebr.eller.arizona.edu.

Michael Crow (current)

TREO Luncheon features university presidents

Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. (TREO) will feature state university presidents, Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, of the University of Arizona and Dr. Michael M. Crow, of Arizona State University, at its 8th Annual Luncheon on Wednesday, September 25th at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson.

Strong economies are defined by well-paying jobs, held by individuals possessing knowledge and skills that are in demand. Post-secondary education most often provides these skill sets. While US citizens have traditionally been among the best-educated in the world, the nation now ranks 12th in the number of 25- to 34-year olds with college degrees. Businesses often cite the difficulty of finding qualified workers as a barrier to growth. Talent is always the number one factor in site selection decisions.

What is being done in the Sun Corridor to address talent development? Join TREO for a higher education update and a frank discussion on educating the next generation for jobs of today and the future.

When: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Where: Westin La Paloma Resort, 3800 East Sunrise Drive, Tucson, AZ
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Luncheon and Presentation
Registration: http://conta.cc/12e195U