Guest Editorial: Small Town, Rural Arizona Needs New Jobs, Economic Development — La Paz County Has A Prime Opportunity

By Recker McDowell —

Arizona has added 65,000 new jobs over the past 12 months including 21,900 new ones in September.

Almost all the job creation and economic development is happening in Phoenix and Tucson. The state’s two big metro areas accounted for 58,500 of the new jobs the past 12 months and 20,200 of the new hires last month.

That translates into 90 percent (9 out of 10) new jobs the past year and 92 percent last month were grown in Phoenix and Tucson.

It means less than One out of Ten new jobs are being created in Arizona’s small towns and rural areas

Arizona’s smaller communities make up close to 20 percent of the state’s population but just 10 percent of the new jobs being created. The big cities and the sprawling suburbs of Phoenix and Tucson account for approximately 80 percent of the state’s population but 90 percent of the new jobs.

Our smaller communities need a better balance.

Residents in rural areas of the state want and need more good paying local jobs so they stay in the communities they love and not have long, tiring commutes. New jobs in rural areas will also increase labor participation adding workers and their spending to the economy.

Rural communities should embrace economic development and new jobs. La Paz County, for example, has the opportunity for new jobs and a $30 million economic development investment from Alliance Metals USA.

The company is working through the process to bring those jobs in the McMullen Valley area and needs support from the La Paz County Board of Supervisors. Alliance Metals new jobs will pay between $13.50 and $25 per hour if the project is approved.

We know La Paz County residents and County Supervisors want new jobs and investment in their community that could encourage more employers to land in areas of the state that aren’t Phoenix or Tucson.

Alliance Metals USA’s new jobs offer a prime economic development opportunity for La Paz County that could encourage even more employers to invest in Arizona.