The East Valley generated nearly half the total job growth in Maricopa County in 2018, according to data from the CBRE Research, Arizona Commerce Authority and Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
The PHX East Valley Partnership, which represents a coalition of business, education and municipal leaders, said 13,500 of the new 28,000 jobs were born in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe Queen Creek and Apache Junction.
Six of the top 10 major job creation announcements were also concentrated in the area, including 5,000 jobs each for Allstate in Chandler and Deloitte in Gilbert, as well as 1,200 new positions for the Wells Fargo in Tempe and 1,000 from Voya in Chandler.
Partnership President/CEO Denny Barney said the recent job success will only bring more success.
“It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. We get one or two companies here and then everyone else is saying, ‘hey, why aren’t we there?’” he said. “As we get additional pressure into the market place, that drives overall values in real estate and retail demand. It’s one of those ‘all ships rise with the tide’ things. All jobs bring secondary and tertiary jobs that come with it.”
Among the industries with the biggest job gains were manufacturing, technology and financial services, Barney added.
In Mesa, AQST Space Systems relocated its headquarters to Falcon Field Airport from Puerto Rico, while Eclipse Automation Inc. — a supplier of custom automated manufacturing equipment for the life sciences, energy, transportation, mining, industrial and telecommunications industries – invested $1 million in its third manufacturing facility.
The supplier plans on hiring more than 50 automation engineers and technicians over the next year.
Meanwhile, Chandler saw a new FinTech startup Brightside Benefit, Inc., office, which hired 25 new employees and is looking to hire another dozen, and a Liberty Mutual Insurance location, with expectations of 750 immediate jobs openings and 1,000 additional ones in the future.
On Q Financial set up shop in Tempe, with a 44,603-square-foot office for the online provider of mortgage tools for home loans, mortgages, electronic lending and loans.
“The momentum is there. It’s not just about new jobs, but it’s about the right kind of jobs,” said Barney. “We’re finally getting the respect we thought we deserved.”
The CEO attributed the region’s attractiveness to a myriad of factors, including Arizona’s economic advantages as a whole — such as weather and proximity to California — but also reasons specific to the East Valley.
“We [the East Valley] sit in the shadows of Phoenix — it’s a great city. The whole purpose of the partnership is to make sure our message isn’t lost in that broader narrative,” he said. “We think we have a different value proposition than Phoenix, or the West Side. I think it’s probably the quality of the housing inventory that’s available and the quality of transportation and the schools.”
According to its website, the PHX East Valley Partnership dedicates its mission to the economic development and promotion of the region while advocating for education, transportation and infrastructure, arts, behavioral health and other “important areas.”