February 25, 2020

Michael Gossie

Arizona leads nation in employment and wage growth

Arizona ranked third in the nation for year-over-year employment percent gain and fourth for average weekly wage growth between 2018 and 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Arizona continues to lead the nation in fostering opportunities; the state is projected to add more than 159,000 jobs over the next two years and exports reached a record high last year.

“With employment and wages growing in Arizona, we have worked hard to ensure Arizona is a place of opportunity for all.” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “From our economic momentum to tax friendliness, progress eliminating red tape and legislation recognizing out-of-state occupational licenses, the state is working to grow jobs and opportunities for all Arizonans. We will continue to focus on issues that help more Arizonans get to work.”

The data indicates that year-over-year employment in Arizona grew 2.6 percent between September 2018 and September 2019, followed by Colorado with 2.4 percent and North Carolina with 2.2 percent. Arizona’s average weekly wages grew 4.5 percent—an increase of $44—between the third quarter of 2018 and the third quarter of 2019, followed by Washington with 4.3 percent. Inflation during that time period increased 3.4 percent, based on Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan statistical areas data.

Additionally, Maricopa County year-over-year employment growth reached 3.2 percent — the largest among the nation’s 10 largest counties based on 2018 annual average employment. Following Maricopa County is King County, WA with 3.1 percent and Dallas County, TX with 2.7 percent. Maricopa County’s average weekly wages grew 4.5 percent, followed by Orange County, CA with 4.3 percent and San Diego County, CA with 4.1 percent.

Arizona has added more than 350,000 new private-sector jobs since 2015. The state’s poverty rate declined also at the fastest rate in the nation — representing approximately 175,000 Arizonans pulling themselves out of poverty between 2015 and 2018. According to the BLS, Arizona’s job growth ranked second in the nation last year, with 84,400 jobs added between December 2018 and December 2019. Arizona also welcomed more than 120,00 residents from 2018 to 2019, ranking third in percentage population growth rate in 2019. Additionally, Maricopa County added more jobs than any county in the nation from December 2018 to December 2019, according to new data from the BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, gaining 89,328 jobs.