Business Climate in Tucson
With such industry leaders as Raytheon Missile Systems, IBM, Honeywell, Texas Instruments, Intuit and Bombardier Aerospace, it’s clear that Tucson has made a name for itself as a great place to grow a business. In just 2010, Tucson has welcomed a new Target fulfillment center, a Ritz-Carlton, the UA Tech Park and the “Solar Zone”, all employing more than 7,000 people and boosting the economy.
LABOR & UNEMPLOYMENT
Recent studies on economic indicators in Tucson show a small, but positive growth in personal income of about .5%, which is still better than the overall growth seen nationwide –good news for those who are relocating. While the Old Pueblo unemployment rate has been hit hard by challenging economic times, it has fared better than the rest of the country, and, is steadfastly recovering with strong opportunities in various job sectors. And, in industry job growth news, experts report that health care is gaining about 1,000 jobs each month statewide –and that’s great news for those in that field!
GROWING –AND ATTRACTING ATTENTION
People and businesses from around the country and even internationally continue to drift towards and settle in Tucson. Besides the city’s beautiful and scenic surroundings, Tucson’s cost of living is still less than many major cities. According to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index, Tucson has a composite index of 95.7 (as of 1Q 2012), making it about 4% less that the national average–a very affordable place to live compared to the rest of the state and with metro areas of similar size. Because Tucson has remained an affordable place to live and work, growth in the greater Tucson region has remained fairly steady, offering a variety of employment opportunities, lower cost of living and easy access to larger metropolitan areas. Pima County’s population grew an average of some 3,400 annually between 2001 to 2010, with the Tucson metro area in particular spawning suburbs and growing communities. Today, Tucson has a metropolitan area population of just over 1,000,000, and the city itself is home to more than 580,000.
TRAVEL AND TOURISM
Travel and tourism are big in Tucson, and it’s the metro travel industry that has contributed significantly to the city’s economy with the new spending it attracts and the jobs it supports. The Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates that out-of-town travelers help support close to 28,000 local jobs! The travel and tourism industry also generates close to $2.4 billion in economic impact to the region, attracting more than four million overnight visitors each year and making it one of the area’s top economic drivers. Tucson’s scenic desert terrain and outdoor-friendly weather also attracts competitors from all over the world for major sporting events, including the La Fiesta do los Vaqueros Rodeo –an eight-day competitive rodeo festival –and the El Tour de Tucson Bicycle Race. And, because of its proximity to Mexico, Tucson has become more involved in international trade, developing close partnerships with the country, along with enjoying almost $980 million in travel spending from their neighbors down south.
The city and its officials have encouraged the growth of twin-plant or “maquiladora” industries that locate part of their operations in Tucson. Tucson is also working toward increased expansion in manufacturing, including electronics, aerospace, and computer component products
INDUSTRY: HIGH TECH, MANUFACTURING THRIVING
Tucson also has a growing high-tech industry environment, with roughly 1,200 companies that have some type of IT component in the region. The industry employs about 50,000 and produces about $4 billion in annual revenues. While more than 300 local companies are directly involved in information technology, other growing tech areas include bio-industry/biotech, aerospace, environmental technology, plastics and advanced composite materials, and teleservices. Top technology employers in Tucson include such nationally known companies as Raytheon Missile Systems, IBM, Honeywell, Texas Instruments and Intuit, plus many smaller companies. Tucson is also a manufacturing hub for technology, with activity in this area nearly doubling in the last 10 years because of the city’s active promotion of expansion and growth in the industry. Tucson companies in this space include such nationally known companies Honeywell, Weiser Lock, 3M, Burr-Brown, IBM, Environmental Air Products, Inc., Krueger Industries, Inc., and Raytheon Missile Systems. With the creation and expansion of the Tucson Tech Corridor, opportunities abound for new high-tech entrepreneurs. Paired with low cost of doing business, affordable home prices, a fair tax structure and a lower overall cost of living, it’s clear that Tucson is a great place for business – whether you’re coming here for work, or to start a new venture.