Tucson still recovering from recession despite recent growth

Data shows business growth is lagging

TUCSON, Ariz. - Business is booming in Tucson, but not as much as other cities.

New data shows business growth in Tucson has some catching up to do.

Larry Lucero with Tucson Metro Chamber says the jobs lost during the recession 10 years ago are slowly, but surely coming back.

"We've bounced back," Lucero said. "We didn't bounce back as quickly as all business leaders would have liked to have occurerd.

Tucson saw a 1.5 percent increase over the past couple of years. But if you compare the business growth to other cities, Tucson's lagging.

Tucson came in at just 0.4 percent compared to Phoenix's 1.9 or 4.4 for Las Vegas. The national average was 2.3.

George Hammond with the University of Arizona's Eller School of Business says Tucson's still recovering from the recession. 

"Tucson is very concentrated in government activity, particularly federal government activity," Hammond said. "And that's typically a sector that doesn't grow very rapidly."

UA helped create Making Action Possible for Southern Arizona, or MAP. The site makes it easy to understand how Tucson is doing in areas such as business growth and housing affordability, and how it stacks up to other western metro areas like Phoenix, San Diego and Las Vegas.

Business growth in Tucson is a full percentage higher of what it was the previous year. But that's still low compared to other cities. 

Lucero and Hammond say Tucson's economy is in better shape than it was, and that the next couple of years are forecasted to be the same 1.5 percent. 

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