An Arizona State University economist expects the state to continue attracting people from other states but said that additional population could put a strain on Arizona’s resources.
Lee McPheters discussed the outlook for Arizona at the 54th annual Economic Forecast Luncheon on Wednesday, sponsored by the W. P Carey School of Business at ASU and JP Morgan Chase and Co.
“We expect steady, sustainable but not spectacular growth — certainly better than most places,” said McPheters, research professor of economics in the W. P. Carey School of Business and director of the school’s JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center.
“We’re close to a top 10 growth state but not in the top five.”
Health care, finance and food service are very strong industries in Arizona, he said. But one of the biggest drivers in the state’s economy is the 61,000 new residents who come from other states every year.
But the state must keep up with that population growth — which he forecasts will be 120,000 new people from domestic and international locations in 2018 — about a 1.7 percent increase.
“The Arizona Department of Transportation estimates that to meet the needs of population growth, the cost will be $100 billion. But our gas tax is the same as it was 25 years ago,” he said.
Among McPheters’ forecasts for next year: