Economic Performance

This section examines economic performance in Arizona relative to other states and the nation. Measures of economic performance can be classified into three categories: productivity, prosperity, and aggregate growth.

September 2019
Ascertains the reasons why incomes in Arizona are low, and have declined over time, relative to the nation and other states. Three broad factors contribute to the below-average incomes in Arizona in recent years: per capita dividends, interest, and rent; workforce participation among those of prime working age; and earnings per worker.
May 2017
Analyzes average earnings per worker by state and metropolitan area. Average earnings per worker varies widely across the nation’s metropolitan areas, largely reflecting geographic differences in the cost of living, job quality, and metro area size, each of which is positively correlated to average earnings per worker.
May 2017
Examines the industrial job mix, the occupational job mix, and job quality in 2015 and the change between 2001 and 2015 for all metropolitan areas. A strong positive relationship is present between metro area size and job quality.
March 2017
Investigates job quality by state, particularly for Arizona and its subregions, relative to the national average. Job quality in 2015 was highest along the Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts south to Virginia, with the western states of Washington, Colorado, and Utah also among the top 10.
November 2016
Looks at the performance of 10 western states and of the 17 metro areas within these states that have a population of at least one million (including Phoenix and Tucson). During the current economic cycle, Texas ranks first on the cost-of-living-adjusted percent change on all but one of the major per worker, per capita, and aggregate growth indicators. Arizona and New Mexico generally rank near the bottom.
October 2016
Examines economic performance in Arizona and in subregions of the state in three categories: aggregate growth, prosperity, and productivity. Each of the subregions of Arizona contribute to the state’s low and declining levels of productivity and prosperity relative to the national average.
January 2015
Analyzes aggregate economic growth in Arizona since the end of the last economic expansion from a historical perspective and relative to the rest of the nation. Aggregate growth in Arizona since 2007 is slower than Arizona’s historical record.
August 2014
Compares states and metropolitan areas on several indicators of productivity and prosperity, with the indicators adjusted by a new measure of the cost of living. Arizona ranked among the bottom eight states on each of the prosperity measures and among the bottom 15 states on each of the productivity measures after adjusting for living costs.
March 2011
Examines economic growth by state since 2000, particularly during the 2002-07 expansion and during the 2008-09 recession. The varying economic performance across states had little relationship to such factors as a state’s economic diversity or job quality; instead, local factors—such as a state’s specific industrial mix—played a large role.
February 2010
Explains why incomes in Arizona are below the national average, presents ways in which the shortfall may be addressed, and describes the differences between the various income measures that are available. The average income in Arizona is less than the national average regardless of the source of income data and regardless of whether income is expressed per capita, per household, or per tax return.
May 2006
Examines high-wage jobs throughout the United States with a focus on Arizona. Arizona’s subpar job quality is not due to a scarcity of high-wage jobs, but instead results from lesser job quality in the remainder of the employment distribution.