Queen Creek and Maricopa, both within the Phoenix metro area, ranked among the 15 fastest-growing large cities in the U.S.

DEEPER DIVE: 5 of 10 fastest-growing Arizona cities are in the West Valley

Large cities have populations of 50,000 or more, based on the May 18 U.S. Census Bureau population estimate release for cities and towns. Population increases in Texas dominated the top 15 fastest-growing large cities in the U.S., with six cities taking spots in the rankings. Georgetown, Texas was at the top of the list for growth.

All Arizona cities of 50,000 or more had population increases from 2021 to 2022, ranging from 6.7% in Queen Creek to 0.4% in Chandler, based on the Census Bureau estimates. Phoenix occupied the second highest position for the numeric increase among all large cities in the nation, with only Fort Worth, TX, adding a larger number of people. Phoenix remained the fifth largest city in the U.S., and the Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler metro area has now reached the rank of the 10th largest in the U.S. New York holds the top position as the most populous metro area. (Note: EBRC uses population data from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity in our indicator tables, which had percent changes slightly higher than those reported by the Census Bureau.) 

Unemployment in Arizona set a new series low for the month of April, at 3.4%. The national unemployment rate remains steady, also at 3.4%, as reported May 19 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment rates decreased in 14 states and remained stable in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Arizona was not the only state to set a new series low, as they were joined by Alabama (2.2%), Arkansas (2.8%), Kentucky (3.7%), Maine (2.4%), Maryland (2.5%), Mississippi (3.4%), Ohio (3.7%), West Virginia (3.3%), Ohio (3.7%), West Virginia (3.3%), and Wisconsin (2.4%). Nonfarm payroll employment increased in five states, decreased in one, and was essentially unchanged in the remaining 44. The largest percentage changes increase occurred in Indiana (+0.5%), followed by Arizona, California, and New Jersey (+0.4% each). Arizona did not see yearly or monthly statistically significant seasonally adjusted unemployment rate changes. However, Arizona did see significant monthly and yearly changes in employment at 0.4% and 2.3%, respectively, with employment in April 2023 rising to 3,158,700.

Arizona nonfarm employment increased by 13,800 jobs in April, or 0.4%, not seasonally adjusted. The largest employment gains occurred in leisure & hospitality (5,100); private education & health services (4,300); and government (3,500). Manufacturing (-1,000); financial activities (-1,000); and trade, transportation & utilities (-900) suffered the greatest employment losses. Year-over-year employment increased by 60,700 or 2.0% in April, with the private sector contributing most new jobs (47,000). Private education & health services contributed the most jobs over the year at 25,500, followed by government at 13,700 and leisure & hospitality at 9,800. Employment losses were not as significant as the gains, with other services shrinking by 3,500 and information falling by 1,100. Over the year job gains in Arizona metropolitan areas included 2.0% in Phoenix, 1.9% in Flagstaff, 1.3% in Tucson, 1.2% in Prescott, 1.1% in Lake Havasu City-Kingman, -0.5% in Yuma, and -1.5% in Sierra Vista-Douglas.

Authors: Delaney O’Kray-Murphy, EBRC research economist Valorie Rice, senior business information specialist Prarthana Magon, EBRC student researcher.