Before the passage of the American Rescue Plan, it was not clear whether local communities would receive the financial resources they needed to rebuild from the pandemic and recession. Now that funding is secure, it’s time to act. Joseph Parilla, Fellow for Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program recently presented a framework for how the Greater Phoenix area can stabilize its region, strategize together to invest in future prosperity, and organize efforts to enable an inclusive recovery from COVID-19.

  • The COVID-19 recession destroyed about 225,000 jobs and the region is 80% recovered to pre-crisis peak.
  • Black and Hispanic workers are feeling the brunt of the recession while facing higher health risks on the frontlines.

  • Greater Phoenix entered the pandemic with strong job growth but challenges translating growth into inclusive prosperity.

  • Median earnings improved for Black and Hispanic workers, but racial disparities persisted over the past decade.

  • COVID-19 has accelerated widespread adoption of digital capabilities, spurring demand for the talent and tech solutions to power future growth. The growth in digital jobs can be a platform for inclusion, leading to higher wages.

  • Greater Phoenix’s job market is now roaring back. There has been a 35% increase in unique job postings in the Phoenix metro area from 2020 – 2021.
  • The region needs 168,000 more family-sustaining wage jobs to cut its struggling families share in half. In the Phoenix metro area in 2019, 40% of struggling families with children earned less than $24.84 per hour(?), below the region’s family sustaining wage.
  • Systemic racism has a cost.The estimated lost GDP due to structural racial inequality over the last two decades was $16 Trillion.
  • The cost of climate disasters has drastically increased in the last few decades.

  • There is more than $4 Trillion in COVID-19 federal relief dollars. “The biggest concern is demonstrating that multiyear public investment is actually in the interest of the American people. A lot of that will come down to execution… at the federal level and the state and local level… that’s where a lot of, I think, our focus needs to be on getting it right,” says Brian Deese, Director of the WH National Economic Council.
  • Across the country, local leaders are adopting three principles of action to pursue a quality, equitable economy: set goals, pursue a holistic agenda (quality jobs, people, and places), and build institutional capacity.

This information was presented at the Greater Phoenix Chamber’s Economic Development Insider Series on June 17, 2021. To stay current on the latest economic development trends and activities, join us at our next event on August 19th.

Posted by Annelise Patterson