AZ Economy Showing Modest Growth

Jul 24, 2012

Retail sales last month were $4.05 billion. On paper, that's $100 million less than the same month a year earlier. But the Department of Revenue reports that the June 2011 figures were skewed to the tune of about $280 million because of how certain sales were classified. When that figure is backed out, the year-over-year growth is about 4.5 percent. Economist Dennis Hoffman of Arizona State University said that's not bad.

State's Jobless Rate Steady, But Recovery Not Stalled

Jul 19, 2012

The state's jobless rate remained at 8.2 percent for the third month in a row. But a closer look at the data suggests that does not mean the recovery here has stalled.

Peter O'Dowd / KJZZ

Trade between the United States and Mexico reached half a trillion dollars in 2011. Cross-border commerce is growing despite escalating drug violence in Mexico.

The final tally came out to $500 billion in goods and services traded between the two countries, according to a paper by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and Arizona State University's North American Center for Transborder Studies.

Peter O'Dowd / KJZZ

Here's a turnaround worth noting: The housing market in Phoenix is emerging from a historic slumber. Foreclosures are down, and new home sales are re-energizing the market -- up 35 percent from a year ago.

Let's get down to street level, shall we? How 'bout Ravenswood Drive near Gilbert's eastern edge.

Ken Peterson is a Vice President for Shea Homes. We're in a development called Spaces. And listen to this, air compressors and nail guns all around us.

AZ Personal Incomes Rising

Apr 2, 2012

The official report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis puts per capita  personal income in Arizona last year at $35,875. That's a 3.9 percent increase over the prior year. But that was not enough to keep pace with the rest of the nation were income went up 4.3 percent. The result is that Arizona remains in 40th place. Economist Tom Rex of Arizona State University said the numbers were to be expected.

"We're very, very cyclical in Arizona," said Rex. "I'm not surprised that we'd have another pretty mediocre year. Things will turn here over the next couple of years."


Workers at the bottom of the pay scale are going to keep getting raises each year to match inflation -- at least for the time being. 

Consumer Confidence Seems to be Up in Arizona

Mar 19, 2012

The data from the state Department of Revenue shows retail sales in January of $3.7 billion. That's nearly 5.4 percent higher than the same time last year -- and more than 16 percent above two years ago. Economist Dennis Hoffman of Arizona State University called that a nice solid month of performance. But Hoffman said there is reason to believe that this year-over-year growth may not continue.

"The headwind right now is $4 gas," said Hoffman. "And that is really going to be the proof in the pudding here."

Bankers Beat Back Efforts at Mortgage Relief in AZ

Mar 15, 2012

About half of all Arizona mortgages are under water, meaning owners owe more than the property is worth. This proposal was aimed at helping those who continue to make payments rather than simply walk away. It is a bit complex, involving the state using its power of eminent domain to acquire the property, paying the bank the current market value with money from investors who buy state bonds, and giving the lender a no-interest promissory note for the balance. That buys the homeowner some time for the market to recover.

Jude Joffe-Block

LAS VEGAS — For the last year, gardener Juan Romulo was unemployed and stood outside of Las Vegas nurseries, waiting for any kind of day labor work that would come his way. Then, when a landscaping firm hired him in February, he joined the ranks of a growing number of Americans going back to work.

His new job is hard work, and the pay is barely above minimum wage, but for Romulo, it is a relief to have a steady paycheck again to feed his family.

Yearly Economic Growth Greater Than Expected

Jan 19, 2012

Despite gaining some 4,000 private sector jobs in December, Arizona's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is holding at 8.7 %.

The Department of Administration says the month's lackluster performance comes from above-average losses in government jobs, primarily in public education.

Still, even with the slow growth, the Department's Rick van Sickle says the state is ahead of where forecasters thought they would be.

He says economists thought the state would see 0.7 % growth over the year.