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Why Phoenix?

Phoenix is located in the heart of the fastest growing and most dynamic metropolitan area in the country with a population of over 4 million people. Phoenix has a population of 1.6 million and is the fifth largest city in the United States, forecast to be at least #4 by 2020. Adjacent cities include Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, and Surprise – and other nearby cities include Tucson, Yuma, and Flagstaff.

The Phoenix-Casa Grande-Tucson corridor has been and is expected to be one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S. in the next decades.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2030 the population of Phoenix will grow to 2.2 million, and the population of the metro area will reach 6.3 million.

Phoenix is the capital of the state of Arizona, located in Southwestern United States adjacent to the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado (at “4 corners”), and New Mexico. Arizona shares a vibrant border with Mexico that facilitates trade between the U.S. and Latin America.

Phoenicians Know How

More than most places in the West, Phoenix has a welcoming attitude towards people and business. Once here, it’s easy to integrate into the business and lifestyle flow, and you’ll likely find yourself chatting soon with your neighbor, a Mayor, other elected officials, and top CEOs in the Valley. Phoenix is a place where what you bring to the table matters, not where you were born, where you went to school, or who your grand-parents were. That’s why Metro Phoenix is filled with smart entrepreneurs with a ‘can do’ attitude and is the top spot in the U.S. for small business formation.

Phoenicians know how to get things done.

Metro Phoenix Economy

For the past 20 years, Phoenix consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing economies of all metro areas in the United States.  The value of goods and services produced in the Phoenix metro area reached $187.4 billion in 2008, larger than the output of many countries.

The manufacturing base is diversified, but particularly strong in aerospace and electronics.  Semi-conductor factories such as SUMCO Southwest, ON Semiconductor, Microchip Technology and Intel are based in the greater Phoenix area. Apple recently began production in Mesa.

Financial service companies, including national banks and insurance companies with large support offices and data centers, are located in Phoenix.  They are attracted to Phoenix, in part, because of the low occurrence of weather disruptions or earthquakes. American Express, USAA, State Farm Insurance, and Charles Schwab employ thousands of residents in Metro Phoenix offices.

The information technology industry is very robust with hundreds of companies involved in software development, or computer system integration or providing internet service.

Healthcare services and the bioscience industry are also pillars of growth in Phoenix.  Since 2002, jobs in this industry have grown at three times the national average.  There are over two-dozen major hospitals in the region including the Mayo Clinic and the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

The Phoenix Biomedical Campus, located on 28 acres in downtown Phoenix, includes the TGen genomics research institute, a branch of the University of Arizona – College of Medicine, and the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative research center. Expansions of the College of Medicine and of the Arizona Cancer Center are planned for that downtown campus.

Retail sales are also important to the Phoenix economy with dozens of luxurious shopping malls that attract clients from all over the world.

Phoenix also has many large distribution centers to supply major cities throughout the Southwest, including Los Angeles and San Diego located 350 miles to the west.

Tourism and recreational services are important segments of the economy.  Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport serves 40 million passengers a year. It is one of the nation’s top ten busiest airports and is ranked 19th in the world for passenger traffic. Sky Harbor Airport is also known as the world’s friendliness airport!

As a result of the global recession, the Phoenix economy contracted by one percent in 2008 in real terms.  This contraction was mostly caused by the sharp drop of construction of new houses and commercial buildings.

The unemployment rate in Phoenix always tracks lower than the national average, reflecting the diversity and resiliency of the Phoenix economy. The labor force of Phoenix is not reliant on any single industry.

History of Phoenix

Phoenix was incorporated as a farming town in 1881 at the confluence of two rivers that flow from the nearby mountains. It was built by settlers of European ancestry on the ruins of a town that had been abandoned by Native Americans in the 1400s.

Since the new settlers were using the same canals and roads of their predecessors, it was logical for them to select the name Phoenix, the mythical bird that rose from the ashes of a previous civilization.

The population of Phoenix grew slowly through World War II, reaching 350,000 by 1950.  With the development of air conditioning and opening of factories to manufacture electronics and aviation products, population growth accelerated.

The Future of Phoenix

The population growth rate of the Phoenix metro area increased by nearly 4% per year for the past 40 years.  That growth rate slowed during the recession of 2008-09. However, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts it will resume with the national economic recovery, and it already has begun to do so.

The municipal governments in the greater Phoenix region are planning for a population growth of at least two million residents over the next two decades, reaching an estimated population of 6.2 million by 2030. To prepare for that population growth, an enormous amount of infrastructure is planned, from new freeways to expansions of the light rail lines.

Construction is occurring at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on the new PHX Sky Train™, an elevated and automated train that will transport people between the nearest Metro light rail station and the main terminal.  That first phase was completed in 2013. The second phase extension to the west will connect the other two terminals and the rental car center by 2020.

People move to Phoenix not just for the weather and high quality of life, but also for jobs.  And companies move to Phoenix to take advantage of the highly skilled labor force, low operating costs and low risk of natural disasters. There are no tornadoes or hurricanes in Phoenix – only the occasional ‘haboob’ – dust storm – which is sort of a gust of dusty wind that deposits dirt on your car once a year. More photo op that anything else.

Phoenix was awarded the distinction of All America City in 2009 by the National League of Cities based on the completion of innovative projects with community input.  Those projects included the Sonoran Preserve Initiative, the teen program at the public libraries and the development of the downtown campus for Arizona State University. Surrounding cities have comparable award-winning programs.

With professional teams in every major sport, a symphony orchestra, professional opera, ballet and theater companies, and world-class museums, Phoenix has the attractions of a major cosmopolitan city along with affordable housing.

Phoenix has more than a dozen degree granting universities and the largest community college system in the United States.  Arizona State University has more than 67,000 students and dozens of graduate programs on four campuses in greater Phoenix, including a campus in downtown and in west Phoenix.

Neptune Orient Lines moved its U.S. headquarters from California to Phoenix in 2009 seeking lower operating costs and talented graduates from the ASU logistics training center.

Valley of the Sun (and Water)

The Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program makes Phoenix a prime location for solar and renewable energy companies.  The program allows renewable energy companies to receive tax breaks for growing or expanding in Arizona. The city of Phoenix has a long-standing commitment to resource conservation and has been an active participant in energy conservation, energy efficiency and environmental preservation since the early 1980’s.

Arizona is #1 in the U.S. for solar power per capita, and #2 for annual solar installation.

Phoenix has an abundant supply of water, both from the local rivers and from a canal that transports water from the Colorado River.  Total water consumption in Phoenix has actually decreased over the past 10 years despite a 23% growth of population as result of water conservation programs.

Water supplies to Phoenix are enough for home builders to comply with the state law which requires a 100 year water supply.  About 70% of water use in Arizona still goes to agriculture. As Phoenix develops and people replace agriculture, water usage actually decreases.

Phoenix Metro Lifestyle

The lifestyle in Phoenix-Scottsdale-Mesa-Gilbert-Chandler-Glendale is one of the finest in the U.S., especially if you like sun, golf, tennis, hiking, baseball and nightlife. Housing, taxes and cost of living are all moderately low. Infrastructure is fresh and new – and crime rate is low.

The international community in Metro Phoenix is steadily building. International organizations such as PCFR, AZCIV and AZIGG are growing, and more and more organizations are weaving in international components to their members. There are a variety of wonderful international festivals like multiple Greek festivals, The Great Canadian Picnic, Polish Festival, Japanese Festival, Chinese New Year Festivities and many, many more. The international food scene is pretty good and getting better – click for more about the area’s best restaurants.

Economic Development

The Community and Economic Development Department at the city of Phoenix can help investors obtain tax credits, low-interest loans, training grants and detailed information about real estate and demographics.

Thank you to the City of Phoenix for sharing some of this information. For further info, please visit www.phoenix.gov/ECONDEV or contact Growth Nation.

There are effective economic development organizations throughout the Valley – including Greater Phoenix Economic Council – which pulls together over 20 Arizona cities in a business attraction formula that works. The Arizona Commerce Authority also works on attracting and retaining companies in Arizona.

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