What’s The Matter With Tucson?

Tucson [Photo courtesy of City of Tucson]

The overall American economy has grown over the past two years to the point that unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades in many cities and states, and Hispanic unemployment nationally is at record lows.

Here in Tucson we finally have as many people working as we did in early 2008, before the Great Recession hit. Plus we now have more people working in the Professional and Business Services than ever before. Good news for sure. But how is Tucson doing employment-wise relative to similarly-situated cities in the West and Southwest such as Tulsa, Albuquerque, and Colorado Springs – medium-size cities that aren’t the state capital but which have a significant number of institutions of higher education?

The answer is not good. Let’s look at Professional and Business Services (P&BS) first. This sector is the most prized by cities for employment as this sector contains the best-paying upper middle-income and higher income jobs. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 560,000 new P&BS jobs have been added nationally in 2018. I did some basic arithmetic to determine how many of those jobs should’ve been added in the Tucson metro area and our competitor cities of Tulsa, Albuquerque, and Colorado Springs. Here’s what I found:

Expected P&BS Job GrowthActual
Colo. Springs12386300

While an increase of 1400 P&BS jobs here is obviously welcome, sadly it pales in comparison with Tulsa, Albuquerque, and Colorado Springs. These cities are wildly outperforming Tucson in this key area of job growth.

And Tucson is not being left behind just in P&BS job growth. I ran the numbers for Tucson and its competitor cities using Bureau of Labor Statistics data for the Education and Health Care; Construction; Manufacturing; and Trade/Transportation/Utilities job categories as well, which covers the bulk of all employment, and added the P&BS data above to determine if these cities had greater than expected job growth using the same arithmetic formula. They all did. However, Tucson badly lagged its competitors again:

Jobs added in excess of arithmetic expectations
Colo. Springs7800

And, Albuquerque, like Tucson, was hit really hard by the Great Recession, with overall employment and P&BS employment not reaching pre-Great Recession levels till 2017 or 2018. Yet it’s now an economic tiger compared to Tucson.

So I ask the question of Sun Corridor, Inc. and the elected officials of Tucson and Pima County? Why is Tucson lagging these competitor cities in job growth? And what are you doing to catch up?

D. Viking


  1. and as we landed on the Southwest flight around 1430 hours in the afternoon the pilot announced welcome to Tucson where the time 1978… and that’s about it – stuck in 1978

  2. No Growth Radical Environmentalists and White Guilt Liberals.

    No Growth = No Jobs = No Future. It’s quite simple and works every time.

  3. Please don’t try to make sense of this mess that the liberals and their croney handlers have made of this area. High taxes, poor public education in TUSD, crumbling infrastructure, loonie enviros on the loose and want no growth and there is no end in sight for the 8th or 5th poorest area in the country. You get what you vote for and when the facts are brought to light, the voters must be so proud of their handlers.

  4. The reason the numbers aren’t comparable is
    because you didn’t compare Tucson to its
    companion cities. The mantra from Tucson and
    County leaders, excepting Ally Miller, is
    “Make Tucson Mexico again.”

  5. It really comes down to leadership. Wherever democrats have enjoyed long term leadership, you see the fruits of thier efforts, epic FAILURE!
    As for the Democratically controlled county, one only has to look to see that the privately funded Rosemont mine will bring in far more good paying jobs yearly then the yet to make a profit publicly funded exploding balloon “spaceport” ever will before it falters and falls into court ordered bankruptcy.
    As for the Democratically controlled city clowncil, well with the gutting of public safety funding slashing the police, even the mayor is unsafe from being just another statistical victim of a carjacking.
    In the meantime rather then attract new growth, the power brokers just squeeze the residents for more and more and more further eroding any chances of further productive growth. With its anti business culture firmly in place why would any major successful business ever want to relocate to Tucson?
    Voted as ugly, morally and financially bankrupt, politically corrupt and unashamed endless stupidity are all noteworthy hall marks of our fine community, of course those are just the high points.

    The Oracle

  6. Concise and to the point. Of course don’t expect an answer from the City or the County and don’t expect the local media to cover it either.

  7. There was a article a couple of weeks ago on places to retire and yes tucson was on it but at the botm as I recall. People want to have someplace to go and something to do when they get there. I think snotsdale was the #1 or pretty close to it. This area has been no growth for the last 50+ years. It started up on the northside and worked it way down south. Many small businesses have been pushed out and I am guessing many more are getting ready to go.

    Yes as one used to note this is the town trying hardest to be the DETROIT of THE SOUTHWEST and its doing a bang up job of earning the title. Crooked politicians at ALL levels have made this possible. At my last job they wanted to build a facilty here but the locals just ignored them. SV got the job instead and old bob the sleeper was astounded when they laughed at him for not getting the facility (he left the party early BTW). Then our illustrious senior senator did absolutely NOTHING AGAIN when the parent company was looking to locate a major facility here in the USA and the senator from missippi got them to locate there in conjunction with UM and its aeronautical dept. I guess the ua does not have a good aeronautical school anymore? Anyhow these were to be good paying tech and mech jobs but the locals dont want that stuff. They would not be able to cash in on the $$ being generated I guess. Oh well welcome to the 8th poorest area and the proud people making it possible. Notice I did not use term LEADERS, we dont have any at any level.

  8. I lay a FULL 50 PERCENT of the blame on the demented, UoA J-school libtards that run the Arizona Daily [Red] Star.

    They always run to the hard-Left corner on any explanation, they never investigate the DEMSHEVIKS that run/dominate City/County government.

    Their operating business model is “PANDER-PANDER-PANDER” TO THE TUCSON HARD-LEFT.

    Honestly, from my experience, a major metro-daily newspaper can make a real difference in the success of its host city… ADS–it’s the worst major metro daily in the West (and I’ve read ’em all, living or doing biz in 9 western states) the ADS is NOT EVEN A LOCALLY-OWNED BUSINESS.

    I cannot understand the “Tucson local business community’s tolerance of this lousey RAG; their parent company is floating on a mountain of junk bond debt, has gone BANKRUPT once, and was saved by Warren Buffett, who did a re-fi (debtor-in-possession corp scheme) so’s he could resell MORE JUNK BONDS paying a 9% coupon, they can barely cover. So earlier this year, Buffett, seeing the inevitable 2nd bankrupcty, let them manage his other BH-owned papers for a fee & year-end incentive.


  9. It’s so cute when right wing knuckle draggers blame liberals, Democrats, educated and enlightened citizens for any and all economic problems. Check out Boulder or Denver, CO. Both are bastions of liberals and environmentalists and their economies are bursting at the seams. They also were among the first cities to recover from the Great Recession. So please, look at your own beliefs and policies before heading blame on the “others”.

    • It is evident that you do not come from this area by claiming the boulder/denver areas are so great. My son lives up in that area and he is as frustrated there as we are here! Yes the democraps and libtards are where to lay the blame locally. Back in the 60’s there was a chance to get some light industry here (motorola) and they owned most of the foothills and wanted to have a TV assembly plant. NO THE LIBTARDS said, move it down south. The mayor(s) also dems mostly said we dont need industry as we will survive on hotels, motels and fast food, so again nothing was brought in.

      Fast forward to the late 80’s to now and its more of the same. So yes lay the blame where it belongs like it or not.

    • I agree it is not the “D” or “R” in Tucson’s case. It is “I: for incompetence and “C” for corruption. Of that we can all agree who is of thinking age.

    • Your point? Makes no difference to me what party you speak of. The fact of the matter is the SAME people have been running this place for decades and NOTHING has changed. The crony’s, the developers, the connected, et all always get their way and the local rag (ADS) never reports it as such. In addition, it’s usually at taxpayers expense!


  11. Simple cause…One word….progressivism. Societal cancer leaving death, poverty and destruction wherever it is practiced.

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