Telling It Like It Is About Tucson’s Jobs

By D. Viking

On October 24, 2016 I wrote an article that was published in the ADI which proved that Sharon Bronson’s reelection campaign’s claims of great job growth for Tucson weren’t based on any hard data. In today’s terms, Bronson’s assertions were fake news. To investigate her claims I queried gov’t and other databases and disproved these claims of hers in just a few minutes of research – research that the Arizona Daily Star was apparently too lazy or too biased to perform.

At any rate, I did more research this past week on my own as a registered independent to see how Tucson has fared compared to other cities in the Intermountain West and Southwest in recovering from the Great Recession. I accessed the public databases maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and here’s what I found. I’ve listed below each city, the month/year it’s employment peaked before the Great Recession, and the number of months it took for overall employment to return to pre-recession levels. The lower the number of months, the quicker the city recovered its jobs.

CityEmployment Peak
Months to recover
to pre-recession peak
Tucson12/2006Still not reached
Albuquerque12/2007Still not reached
El Paso11/200824
Wichita06/2008Still not reached
Oklahoma City11/200840
Las Vegas12/2007100
Reno12/2006Still not reached
Colorado Springs06/200783
Salt Lake City12/200758

Clearly Tucson and Pima County are lagging most of its peers when it comes to recovering and creating new jobs.

It’s bad enough that we still have fewer people working today here in the Tucson metro area than we did 10 years ago. Btu even worse, the number and percentage of Professional & Business Services (P&BS) jobs in the economy here still lags pre-recession levels. P&BS jobs are the good-paying white-collar jobs – the types of jobs most prized by cities.

Below is a table with cities, pre-recession month and year peak for P&BS jobs, their percentage of the economy then, months needed to reach pre-recession peak, and the percentage of the overall workforce that P&BS jobs are now. The higher the percentage, the greater the number of P&BS jobs in the workforce. If a city has a higher percentage of P&BS jobs now than before the recession, then it means that the city is acquiring better-paying jobs. If the percentage of P&BS jobs now is lower than it was before the economic slowdown, then the city is not attracting more P&BS jobs.

CityP&BS Jobs Pre-recession peakPctg P&BS jobs in workforceMonths to recover to pre-recession peakPctg P&BS jobs in workforce as of 12/2016
Tucson11/200713.31%Still not reached13.31%
Albuquerque08/200816.83%Still not reached15.04%
El Paso08/200812.84%9810.83%
Oklahoma City12/200713.54%8012.26%
Las Vegas02/200712.94%9212.87%
Billings08/200712.07%Still not reached9.69%
Colorado Springs07/200816.74%8415.35%
Salt Lake City11/200716.36%5517.67%

With results like this why are we paying bonuses to the county administrator? Why are we re-electing supervisors like Sharon Bronson, who’s presided over a decade of lackluster jobs growth and development – leaving this region ranking with Albuquerque as the worst in the interior west? Why are we funding entities like TREO year-after-year and not demanding concrete results? If Denver, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix, and Austin can have both numeric and quality job growth, why not Tucson? It’s time for voters to demand real action from elected officials and those entities funded by the taxpayers to promote economic development.

About Opinion 362 Articles
Under the leadership of Editor in Chief Huey Freeman, the Editorial Board of the Arizona Daily Independent offers readers an opportunity to comments on current events and the pressing issues of the day. Occasionally, the Board weighs-in on issues of concern for the residents of Arizona and the US.


  1. Our city of tucson elected leaders couldn’t beat their way out of a wet paper bag. Their definition of pro business is to tax the hell out of them. And regulate everybody into the ground. They don’t even know what it means to cover payroll. Pima county is no better. And btw. Mike Varney and the chamber are political hacks for the elected elites. They all think we can tax our way into prosperity. That is like standing in a basket and trying to lift yourself up. My early prediction. Last one out. Turn off the lights and lock the doors.

  2. oh come on now – they want jobs – as long as they pay $10.00 per hour.. its ‘good business’ regardless of how that happens – put the square peg in the round hole… mor’ons… keep’en the people down taken to an art form. The dumincrats jus stay stupid an keep vote’n fur us essaayyy

  3. They dont want jobs here, heard on the radio today that the state is considering RAISING vehicle registration cost, raising the gas tax, Raising the costs to own ‘green’ vehicles so that they pay their ‘fair share’ and to top it off they want to allow ‘counties’ to raise gasoline taxes just like the huckmeister has been advocating!

    Just think about it, no jobs but more taxes in this area. Who would have thunk this would be possible. ALso this morning the ZOO wants a 10 year tax for ‘upkeep’! Where is the infrastructure maintenance from over the years that all of a sudden the zoo is falling apart. I guess when folks were dumb enough to allow a palace and 23 Million for a dog pound all now thing there is a tree that grows money for everyone to get some. Oh well welcome to tucson and pima county.

  4. City Council members Regina Romero and Richard Fimbres have embarked on fixing major streets in the Southside. They know that this will be some just before election next year.

    Did any of you see Elias and Bronson , Valadez approve lots of porjects just before election? This is how they abuse there positions and win re-election.

    The electorate has short term memory issues and this group of City Councilman are using this weakness to there favor.

    So what does this mean ? At current rate same old City Council and more $$$ for special interest and power to the good ole boy gang.

    Go figure ?

  5. All you have to know about Tucson is in this article from 2013, if you pick it apart, it tells you everything that is wrong with a town that doesn’t like bringing in good jobs, but then blames poverty on capitalism and keeps poor voters voting for the Grijalvas of this world:

    The Tucson, Arizona city council has rejected a proposal that would locate a satellite campus of decidedly Christian Grand Canyon University on a site that is currently home to the city’s El Rio Golf Course.

    Councilwoman Regina Romero, who represents the El Rio area, initially backed the repurposing of the historic public golf course on the city’s West Side. When she recently withdrew her support, though, the project was effectively dead in the water.

    “The culture of our council has been to defer to the ward representative on something like this,” Mayor Jonathan Rothschild told the Arizona Daily Star.

    “Despite the many positives of Grand Canyon’s move to El Rio, I have always believed in listening to everyone,” said Councilwoman Regina Romero, according to the Arizona Daily Independent. “After hearing sincere concerns from my friends, allies and colleagues on this issue, I have decided against pursuing the opportunity further.”

    The primary problem with the El Rio golf course is that it has been hemorrhaging cash for years. Tucson’s public golf courses face a total deficit of $8.2 million, reports KVOA. El Rio is responsible for half that shortfall.

    A satellite campus of Phoenix-based Grand Canyon University would eliminate a liability and, at the same time, boost the economy of Tucson — the sixth-poorest metropolitan area in the country, according to a Daily Star op-ed penned by Romero.

    Specifically, the nine-figure construction project would provide jobs, as the Daily Star notes. The resulting new campus could employ as many as 1,000 employees by 2020 and have a $60 million payroll.

    There’s also education. Grand Canyon’s eventual enrollment target for the satellite campus is 6,000 students. Additionally, the school has said it will provide generous scholarships to local students.

    Grand Canyon University has too many political strikes against it, however. For starters, it’s a private, Christian school with a notably evangelical streak. School rules prohibit “fornication and homosexual acts,” among much else. The school’s anti-gay stance did not sit well with local LGBT activists, asserts the Daily Independent.

    Grand Canyon is also a for-profit institution, a fact which did not sit well with Congressman Raul Grijalva, a staunch opponent of for-profit schools. As it happens, notes the Daily Independent, Councilwoman Romero’s husband is a Grijalva staffer.

  6. Because you can’t fix STUPID! Now get on the trolley and like it.. ding ding ding.. the beer and tattoo limited now leaving for 4th Ave and the hospital all government housing projects east of the Santa Cruz.. ding ding ding..

  7. Every liberal bastion like Tucson talks a great game but they really don’t want educated people working that are able to think for themselves. They want slugs with no ambition that depend on the government for their very existence. This fact coupled with the cronies making millions off the taxpayer is why this area will never prosper. On top of that place the sanctuary city/area that hires ILLEGALS and drives the wages lower and when the people think that a minimum wage job should pay enough to support a family you have big problems. Just look around. Pima County can’t live within its budget and neither can the COT. TUSD is simply a liberal sewer and education of the children is not a priority. And yet the voters are happy with continued incompetence of their leaders, very little job growth, crappy services and no one in any of the organizations has a solution. Ain’t it great. Welcome to the arm pit of Arizona.

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