Employment Remains Below Prerecession Peak
A precipitous decline occurred from the end of 2007 through 2009, with the lowest figure of the economic cycle not occurring until September 2010 at 313,500 (11.7 percent) below the prerecession peak. Since then, employment in Arizona has increased, with a net gain of 242,300 (10.2 percent) over 57 months. However, employment in June 2015 remained 2.7 percent (71,200) lower than the peak of the prior economic cycle 92 months earlier. Only 77 percent of the employment lost during the recession had been made up.
Economic Growth Only Equaling National Average
The quarterly percent change in personal income, seasonally adjusted and inflation adjusted, was considerably higher in Arizona than the national average during early 2006, as is typical during an economic expansion. However, in most quarters from 2007 into 2012, Arizona’s performance was below the national average. Since late 2012, quarterly gains in real seasonally adjusted personal income in Arizona have fluctuated from higher to lower than the national average.
The size and growth of Arizona’s economy always are items of interest. However, the aggregate growth rate of an economy is unrelated to the region’s productivity and prosperity or to changes in its productivity and prosperity. High and rising productivity leads to high and rising prosperity. Measured by gross product per employee or earnings per employee, Arizona’s productivity is further below the national average than in the past. On all indicators of individual prosperity, such as per capita personal income and average wage, Arizona is below the national average—and generally has lost ground over time. Individual prosperity, sometimes referred to as economic well-being, is the ultimate goal to which communities strive.
Other topics in the Economy section of Arizona Indicators include the composition of the economy, living costs and inflation.