By Russ Wiles | Arizona Republic
Arizona’s economy continues to recover and could recoup all of the jobs lost in last year’s recession in coming months, with no housing bubble on the horizon despite rising home prices and tight supplies, Arizona State University forecasters said Thursday.
Paced by continuing population gains and improving business conditions, Arizona could gain about 117,000 net jobs this year and 89,000 next year, said Lee McPheters, an ASU economics professor. That would put the state’s employment back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021 or early 2022. Metro Phoenix could add about 85,000 jobs this year and 73,000 in 2022, according to the forecast.
Roughly another 105,000 more statewide jobs are needed for a complete recovery, McPheters said.
However, he described a K-shaped recovery pattern where middle- and high-paying positions have come back much faster than low-wage jobs, which are still down about 23% from before the pandemic began. This raises the question of whether lower-wage workers “prefer to stay home and draw the equivalent of $12 to $13 an hour in unemployment compensation,” he said during a webinar for the Economic Club of Phoenix.