With the first week of August in Arizona arrives back-to-school time for the majority of Arizona students, an ever-so-slight drop in temperatures and increasing traffic on Valley freeways. By many non-atmospheric measures, summer is over and it’s back to business.
Although conventional wisdom has held that the Greater Phoenix region essentially shuts down to wait out the extreme temperatures and monsoon storms, a closer look at recent activity and reports shows great things happening in Arizona during our hottest months.
A feat likely accomplished in July 2016 but announced in June 2017 was Phoenix topping Philadelphia to retake the title as the fifth-largest city in the United States by population. Phoenix, with 1.6 million people, also had the largest numeric population increase of any city, adding more than 32,000 – about 88 people per day – between 2015 and 2016.
Those summer growth accolades extend to the Greater Phoenix region as well.
Maricopa County took home top national honors as the country’s fastest growing county by adding nearly 81,000 people between July 2015 and July 2016. The Town of Buckeye had the seventh-highest population growth among large cities.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey shows that the Greater Phoenix region added 8,000 jobs in June 2017. And Caterpillar Inc. announced it’s expanding in Tucson, creating more than 600 jobs over the next five years. The Phoenix Business Journal reported during National Small Business Week in May that “Phoenix’s small business outlook is nothing but positive”
Arizona job growth was 1.8 percent in May year-over-year, besting the national growth of 1.5 percent for that month. The latest U.S. Census Bureau data shows state personal income increased for Arizonans by 1.0 percent during the first quarter of 2017. Arizona homes prices rose 6.7 percent and bankruptcies are down 1.4 percent year-to-date compared to last year.
In July, the Airport Innovation Accelerator selected Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as the winner of its second annual Airport Innovation Award for its creative work to improve the passenger experience and deploy cutting-edge technologies. And just prior to that honor, in June, Sky Harbor announced a new non-stop flight between Phoenix and Frankfurt Airport in Germany, allowing commerce and tourism to flourish between our region and mainland Europe.
As my friend Christine Mackay at the City of Phoenix Office of Community and Economic Development likes to say “Phoenix is Hot!” Fortunately for our economy, we welcome that all year long.