FILE - AZ Gov. Doug Ducey signs occupational licensing reciprocity law

Gov. Doug Ducey signs an occupational licensing reciprocity law that allows individuals with business licenses from other states to also practice in Arizona with no additional licensing needed.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has touted the state’s strong economy and continued job growth as 2019 comes to a conclusion. 

Arizona has added 300,000 new jobs since 2015, a number it reached this year, the governor’s office said. The tech sector is among the state’s fastest growing industries. Tech grew in Arizona 40 percent faster than the rest of the country, according to the Arizona Technology Council. 

“Arizona has an incredible opportunity to claim its place in the national playing field of competitive tech markets,” a report released last week on Arizona’s technology sector said. Arizona is home to more than 9,000 tech companies and the state has added over 6,700 tech sector jobs this year, the report added.

The governor’s office also said the state has seen the strongest manufacturing job growth in three decades. Lucid Motors is among those companies adding manufacturing to the state, breaking ground earlier this month on a $300 million project to build an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in the state that’s expected to add more than 2,000 jobs over the next decade. 

Arizona also has been ranked fourth in the nation for economic momentum by the State Policy Reports, which bases its analysis on personal income growth, employment growth and population growth. 

Overall, Arizona has seen nearly 72,000 nonfarm jobs added over the year through November, according to an employment report from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity. The state’s unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent in November while the national unemployment rate is 3.5 percent. 

Arizona and Mexico saw strong trade in 2019, with the third quarter being the highest trade activity in three years, and total trade being up 8.3 percent from the same time last year.

Ducey was a vocal proponent of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), which passed in the House of Representatives last week. The free trade deal would serve as an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the agreement could support up to 300,000 jobs in the state.

The Grand Canyon State also received an upgraded credit score last month from Moody’s Investors Service, which it attributed to the state’s “continued economic growth.”

While Arizona’s economy is slowing much like the rest of the country, economists think 2020 will still be a strong year. The state is projected to add an additional 70,000 jobs next year.

Among other achievements Ducey has touted was his backing of an increase to the state’s rainy day fund, which received a $542 million investment earlier this year and now tops $1 billion, the highest it’s been in the state’s history.

“By saving these dollars, Arizona is better equipped to protect our growing investments in areas like K-12 public education, public safety and child safety while avoiding the budget gimmicks and band-aids of the past,” Ducey said

Ducey additionally signed legislation making Arizona the first state in the nation to honor out-of-state occupational licenses, a move he said would end the days when the government “has acted as an adversary, not an ally, for people that want to work.”

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News. He’s also an editor at The Daily Caller.