The Tucson economy added about 6,000 jobs in the past year, in what economists point to as a sign that the local economy is growing at a rate similar to national economic growth.
That pace is expected to continue into 2014, said George Hammond, associate director of the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management.
"I actually think that growth is not just going to continue, it’s going to accelerate over the next couple of years," Hammond said.
The economy is adding jobs, people are making more, and the housing market is recovering from the recession, he said. The local job growth rate is about two percent, he said.
"That’s still below the roughly three percent average job growth rate that we experienced before the recession began," he said. "We’re growing at a rate that’s lower than our average growth rate during the 30 years before the great recession.”
Hammond said he expects the local economy to gain back all the jobs lost in the recession by 2016.
“We will see rising income growth over the next couple of years. Personal income growth, I think, will actually accelerate pretty significantly in 2014," Hammond said in an annual economic forecast presentation.
The industries poised to continue growing in the next few years include health care, business services, such as engineering and computer science, along with call centers and jobs in leisure and hospitality.
"We’re adding not just jobs, but population is growing, income is growing, and the housing market is also rebounding locally,” he said. “We’re headed towards job growth rates in the neighborhood of two percent, maybe a little bit above...that’ll be close to the national growth rate that is expected over the next couple of years."