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Phx No. 1 for Economic Growth, Tucson Second

By Erin Roman for Phoenix Business Journal

The latest Metro Monitor Report from the Brookings Institute shows strong economic growth for Phoenix.

According to the report, Phoenix has the highest gross metropolitan product (GMP) growth in the nation with Tucson a close second. The GMP is the total value of goods and services a metropolitan area produces.

The report, which looks at 2013 first-quarter data on economic progress for the country’s 100 largest metro areas, shows an output increase of 1.2 percent in Phoenix and 1.1 percent in Tucson during the first quarter.

Kenan Fikri, Brookings policy analyst and co-author of the report, said GMP data shows that Phoenix’s strength is being generated by most sectors of the economy, which he said is a sign of a durable and lasting recovery.

While seven out of the 10 Mountain West metro areas have already reached pre-recession output levels, Phoenix closed the quarter with a deficit of 2.6 percent below the pre-recession level.

Phoenix saw 0.6 percent job growth over the quarter, which is higher than the national average of 0.4 percent. However, the employment rate is still 7.2 percent, below its pre-recession peak despite consecutive quarters of above-average growth.

“Since output recovery typically precedes a job recovery, companies make more sales before they hire more people, the recent progress on the output front does point to a potentially accelerating jobs recovery, as well,” Fikri said.

The report noted Phoenix as the fastest-recovering major housing market in the nation, with a housing price increase of 18.3 percent since the second quarter of 2012.

Despite the positive recovery performance in Phoenix, the report also said the city has a long way to go to reach pre-recession levels of employment and output.

Read more at Phoenix Business Journal