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 (www.bls.gov) 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.
|Months to recover|
to pre-recession peak
|Tucson||12/2006||Still not reached|
|Albuquerque||12/2007||Still not reached|
|Wichita||06/2008||Still not reached|
|Reno||12/2006||Still not reached|
|Salt Lake City||12/2007||58|
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.
|City||P&BS Jobs Pre-recession peak||Pctg P&BS jobs in workforce||Months to recover to pre-recession peak||Pctg P&BS jobs in workforce as of 12/2016|
|Tucson||11/2007||13.31%||Still not reached||13.31%|
|Albuquerque||08/2008||16.83%||Still not reached||15.04%|
|Billings||08/2007||12.07%||Still not reached||9.69%|
|Salt Lake City||11/2007||16.36%||55||17.67%|
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.