Pinal among least economically ‘distressed’ zip codes; Ariz. among most, survey shows

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 10.11.13 AMBy Phil Riske, managing editor

According to a nationwide survey by a Washington D.C. think tank, 22 percent of Arizona zip codes are economically distressed, while Pinal County showed less than 4 percent in that category.

Arizona’s ranking was sixth highest in the country behind Nevada, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama.

The Economic Innovation Group based its finding for 25,000 zip codes on seven factors between 2009-2012:

  • Educational Attainment: Percent of population 25 years and over with a high school degree.
  • Housing Vacancy Rate: Percent of habitable housing that is unoccupied.
  • Unemployment Rate: Share of the labor force that is unemployed.
  • Poverty Level: Percent of population living under the poverty line.
  • Median Income Ratio: Ratio of the zip code’s median income to the state’s median income.
  • Change In Employment: Percent change in the number of individuals employed.
  • Change in Business Establishments: Percent change in the number of businesses.

Arizona zip codes in Chambers, Naco, Glendale and Flagstaff were listed among the most economically distressed across the county.

Economic development efforts to recruit new industries were described as a “blood sport” in trying to supply information to prospective businesses in an instantenous fashion, Tim Kanavel, director of the Economic Development Department, told the Casa Grande Dispatch.

Curbing a company’s turnover remains a challenge, Kanavel said.

Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith told the Dispatch the county recovered well from the Great Recession, making it attractive for new residents and businesses.

The think tank said its data would be updated in coming months.

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November 2015