No. 16: Phoenix
- By David Hubler
- Nov 21, 2007
Between 1995 and 2005, the population of Phoenix increased more than 39
percent to more than 1.5 million residents, making the city the fifth largest in
The Valley of the Sun ? encompassing the neighboring towns of Scottsdale,
Mesa and Tempe ? now is home to more than 4 million people, according to
figures from the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area. Those numbers are likely
to be dwarfed when the 2010 census is taken.
Moreover, the Census Bureau predicts that Arizona will lead the nation
through 2030 in the increase of 25-year-olds, a prime employment cohort.
Unlike some other cities, however, Phoenix's growth does not depend on a
large military presence. The five Defense Department bases statewide contribute
more than $5.7 billion to Arizona's economy and account for some
83,000 jobs, according to statistics from the governor's office. But only Luke
Air Force Base, nine miles west of Glendale, is near Phoenix. The base has
more than 5,500 service personnel and 2,250 civilian employees. In addition,
11,880 Air Force retirees list Luke as their base of record. That number swells
to more than 80,000 when seasonal snow bird retirees and their families return
to the area.
The Phoenix area had 34,455 civilian and military jobs in 2005, according
to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
"There is just [so much] growth opportunity here," said Dan Ayala, director of
the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce's BidSource program, which provides information
and instruction on federal and state government contracting.
The federal contractor and information technology presence includes
Motorola Inc., Honeywell Aerospace, Phelps Dodge Corp. and
STMicroelectronics N.V., of Switzerland. With 15,000 municipal employees,
Phoenix is one of the Southwest's biggest employers.
Ayala said downtown Phoenix is undergoing a major redevelopment effort.
"I'm on the 27th floor of the building, and I see cranes everywhere. So the
growth and the opportunity are here."
David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.