Arizona’s slow but steady job growth is expected to continue through 2015, according to the state Office of Employment and Population Statistics.
This year, job growth is forecast to be 2.1 percent, the same as last year. In 2015, that rate will go up to 2.4 percent.
The estimate shows the Tucson area will see improvement on its less than 1 percent job growth last year, but will still lag behind the rest of Arizona. The region is expected to grow by 1.2 percent this year, and 1.8 percent next year. The city's slower growth is due to its smaller size and its lack of diverse industry.
"Most of Arizona's jobs are in the Phoenix area, about 70 percent of those jobs," said Aruna Murthy, director of economic analysis for the Arizona Department of Administration’s Office of Employment and Population Statistics. "Tucson has only about 15 percent, and the sectors are very narrow."
The forecast predicts educational and health services will get about 24,200 new jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities will get about 24,000 new jobs by the end of 2015.
That means those areas may need to see further growth in Southern Arizona, if the area is to improve its rate.
"In any economy, for a healthy economy, we cannot rely on just one sector," Murthy said. "If you do rely on one sector, and that particular sector has a negative effect, the whole economy suffers in the process. Whereas if you take a balanced approach, if you have losses in one sector, another can pick them up."