With a historically low unemployment rate, the search for the best talent is becoming more challenging than ever for employers. In fact, companies are even targeting specific cities and states to find the most effective workers.

CNBC study ranked Arizona as the second-best state in the nation for attracting and retaining top workforce talent, falling just behind Virginia. The study cites Arizona’s influx of educated workers and high unemployment rate as two of the central reasons for its attractiveness to companies. With one of the highest net in-migrant rates in the nation, more talented job-hunters are moving to Arizona, which is a substantial advantage for employers in the state.

“Simply put, Arizona is a great place to live. The economic opportunity available to workers, combined with an affordable cost of living, makes for a very high quality of life in Arizona,” Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson said. “There is truly something for everyone here: from downtown living in our urban centers that offer vibrant arts and culture, to suburban neighborhoods with plenty of room to raise a family, to our state’s beautiful rural communities. Our incredible weather and diverse geography allow Arizonans to take advantage of everything our state has to offer, year-round. Modern infrastructure means easier commutes, so residents spend less time sitting in traffic and more time doing the things they enjoy.”

Arizona also ranked fifth in the United States for personal income growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, making it an attractive location for current and potential employees, as well. Personal income grew 5.5 percent in Arizona, eclipsing the national average of 4.5 percent by a significant margin.

Last year, Forbes ranked Arizona among the top twenty in its “Best States for Business” rankings. Arizona landed in the top ten for projected growth over the next five years as well as the amount and quality of labor supply. In other words, Arizona is poised for both present and future business growth.

As the unemployment rate declines and the labor market becomes more competitive, an improvement in worker efficiency is crucial. With more productive workers, companies can operate optimally and improve their profit margins; as a result, companies can increase workers’ wages and/or reduce prices for consumers if applicable.

“Arizona has been very proactive in creating innovative programs to maintain a workforce with the skills employers require and ensure the talent pipeline stays healthy, from the high school level and beyond,” Watson said. “As a result, our state has consistently been recognized as a top location for workforce quality and availability.”

Over 60 percent of jobs in the Greater Phoenix area are in what are called “advanced” industries, according to City of Phoenix communications manager Eric Toll. Jobs in biosciences, health care, and other scientific fields have been steadily climbing since the end of the recession, which is a signal of a steadfast economy that can withstand any potential economic downturns.

“The advanced industries are less volatile if there’s a recession, in theory,” Toll said. “We’ve been gaining jobs in really key areas — plus, those [jobs] tend to pay more and have benefits and things like that. That’s kind of the story, is that we keep building our strengths in those areas… We’re adding jobs in all the right places.”


This story was originally published at Chamber Business News.