Arizona Boom Draws Californians and Changes Political Hue – The New York Times

Arizona Boom Draws Californians and Changes Political Hue – The New York Times

From 2012 to 2018, an average of about 250,000 people per year migrated to Arizona from other states, with the largest contribution coming from California, according to an analysis of census data by Susan Weber for the demographic research site This is why it costs around $1,000 to rent a U-Haul truck heading from Orange County, Calif., to Phoenix, but only $100 to rent one to go the other way, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

On the surface, adding new people and new subdivisions is the same thing the Arizona economy was doing as the real estate bubble inflated. But the nature of Arizona’s growth — and the kinds of workers it has attracted — has changed.

In the previous cycle, the economy consisted of “building homes for people who build homes,” said Scott Smith, a former homebuilder who served as the mayor of Mesa and is now chief executive of Valley Metro, the Phoenix region’s public transportation authority. The recent expansion, on the other hand, is marked by the growth of finance and technology companies that employ people like Mr. Jordan.

The number of finance jobs in the Phoenix area is up 25 percent since its pre-recession peak in early 2007, compared with 5 percent nationally, with companies like American Express and J.P. Morgan opening or expanding local offices, according to Moody’s Analytics. Technology companies have expanded their head count by about 30 percent in that time, while construction employment is still 24 percent lower than its peak before the recession.

“Our economy has been diversified like I have never seen in my three decades in business,” said Greg Vogel, chief executive of Land Advisors Organization, a land brokerage firm in Scottsdale.

If construction and subprime loans were symbolic of the state’s last boom, this time the image would be offices like WebPT, which makes software used by physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists to manage billing and medical information. Over the past decade the company has grown from a handful of people working out of subleased office space in coffee shops and architectural firms to a 500-person operation with headquarters in a downtown Phoenix industrial space that used to be a tortilla factory.

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