What data tells us about Southern Arizona’s economic well-being


>>THANK YOU SO MUCH.>>>AS YOU HEARD, THE CENSUS HAS MAJOR IMPACTS AND THE DATA COLLECTED CAN ALSO TELL US ABOUT THE WELL-BEING OF A COMMUNITY. IN SOUTHERN ARIZONA, THE MAP DASHBOARD AND ONLINE RESEARCH PROJECT DOES SOMETHING SIMILAR. THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA ELLER COLLEGE OF MANAGEMENT LAUNCHED A PROJECT IN LATE 2014. IT TRACKS 36 SOCIOECONOMIC INDICATORS, AND MAKES THAT INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. WE ASK SENIOR RESEARCH ECONOMIST JENNIFER PULLEN ABOUT SOME OF THE BIG TAKE-AWAYS. SHE SPOKE TO US VIA SKYPE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA.>>HOW IS IT THAT YOU’RE ABLE TO COLLECT THIS INFORMATION? IT SEEMS SO FREQUENTLY.>>ALL OF OUR DATA IS PUBLICLY SOURCED DATA. ABOUT A THIRD OF IT COMES FROM THE CENSUS BUREAU. SO WE UPDATE THE DATA ANNUALLY. IT’S ALL ANNUAL DATA. SO THERE IS AN INDICATOR, UPDATING TYPICALLY EVERY MONTH, OR A FEW INDICATORS UPDATING EACH MONTH ON THE DASHBOARD.>>IT LAUNCHED IN 2014, BUT WHAT SORTS OF INFORMATION HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO GLEAN ABOUT THIS REGION, ITS GROWTH, ITS DEFICITS?>>OKAY, SO TUCSON DOES REALLY WELL IN A COUPLE, IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT AREAS, WE HAVE A REALLY HIGH LEVEL OF PATENT ACTIVITY, SO THIS IS KIND OF A MEASURE OF THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN OUR REGION. WE DO REALLY WELL ON A PERCENTAGE OF COLLEGE MAJORS THAT WE HAVE THAT ARE IN A STEM FIELD, SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, TECHNOLOGY TYPE FIELDS. THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT HOLD THEIR FIRST BACHELOR’S DEGREE. WE HAVE HAD A HUGE DECLINE IN OUR TEEN BIRTH RATE. WE DO STRUGGLE IN SOME AREAS. SOME OF OUR ECONOMIC INDICATORS. LIKE JOB GROWTH, BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT, BUSINESS GROWTH, AND WE HAVE STRUGGLED COMPARED TO OUR PEERS, AS WELL AS THE NATION, AND ANOTHER AREA THAT HAS BEEN SOMEWHAT CONCERNING IS OUR EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT RATES AND WHAT WE’VE SEEN WITH THE PERCENTAGE OF THOSE THAT HAVE A BACHELOR’S DEGREE, OR BETTER, IN THE TUCSON METROPOLITAN AREA, IS THAT WE ARE DECLINING. WE’RE STILL AHEAD OF THE NATION, BUT THE NATION IS CATCHING UP PRETTY RAPIDLY.>>OF THESE 11 OTHER REGIONS THAT YOU MENTIONED, CAN YOU LIST A FEW AND GIVE US A SENSE OF HOW SOUTHERN ARIZONA COMPARES TO THOSE?>>SURE. WE OBVIOUSLY COMPARE TO PHOENIX, JUST UP THE ROAD, BUT SOME OF THE OTHER AREAS THAT WE COMPARE TO ARE ALBUQUERQUE, EL PASO, SAN ANTONIO, SALT LAKE CITY, PORTLAND, SAN DIEGO, DENVER, COLORADO SPRINGS, LAS VEGAS, SO SOME OF THOSE MORE LARGER METROPOLITAN AREAS THROUGHOUT THE WESTERN U.S.>>THAT BEING SAID, WHAT SORT OF PICTURE DOES THE MAP DASHBOARD PAINT FOR THIS REGION AS IT MOVES FORWARD?>>SO I THINK THE DATA HAS SHOWN THAT TUCSON HAS BEEN IMPROVING, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE RECESSION, AND MANY OF OUR ECONOMIC INDICATORS AND OUR JOB GROWTH, GDP, ALL OF THAT, HAS BEEN INCREASING AND IMPROVING. HOME PRICES, SINCE THE GREAT RECESSION. ANOTHER THING THE MAP REALLY POINTED OUT, FOR THE TUCSON REGION, COMPARED TO SOME OF THE OTHER REGIONS AROUND THE WESTERN U.S. IS HOW HARD HIT THE TUCSON METROPOLITAN AREA WAS BY THE GREAT RECESSION. SOME OF IT HAS TO DO WITHES STRUCTURE OF EMPLOYMENT, IN TUCSON, BUT OUR HOME PRICES, OUR JOB GROWTH, WE WERE HIT MUCH HARDER THAN THE NATION AS A WHOLE. AND THEN ALSO OUR PEER METROPOLITAN AREAS. SO A LOT OF IMPROVEMENT OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS.>>JENNIFER, JOINING US FROM THE MAP DASHBOARD, AND SHE JOINS US FROM SOUTH CAROLINA, THANK YOU SO MUCH.>>THANK YOU.

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