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Best (and worst) states to start a business


According to a recent WalletHub study, comparing the 50 states across 26 key indicators of startup success to determine the most fertile grounds in which to launch and grow an enterprise, the top 10 best states to start a business are: Texas, Utah, Georgia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Florida, Arizona, California, Montana and Colorado.

Conversely, the report also listed the 10 worst states: Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Vermont, New York and West Virginia.

Among the 26 key indicators: number of startups per capita, five-year survival rate, labor costs, job growth and access to resources.

Arizona 100 staff

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City of Maricopa’s economic offerings continue to expand

APEX groundbreaking

APEX Motor Club, a private motorsports club and race track complex, broke ground in October and is expected to feature a racetrack, clubhouse and 168 garage condos.

Apex Motor Club is owned by Private Motorsports Group, a Scottsdale-based company. Reservations for membership are already being accepted, and the complex is projected to open in 2020.

“Apex is a first-of-its-kind automobile country club for the greater-Phoenix area,” said Mayor Christian Price. “To bring it here to Maricopa is a huge win not only for the city of Maricopa but also for Arizona and the Southwest region.”

– Denyse Airheart, City of Maricopa Economic Development Office

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Voya Financial announces Arizona expansion


Voya Financial, Inc. will open a new office in greater Phoenix, bringing more than 1,000 new jobs to Arizona. Voya has secured a temporary site, scheduled to open in January 2019, and is currently identifying a permanent site, with plans to open it in mid-2020.

The location will be in addition to Voya’s existing Scottsdale office, where approximately 200 employees are based.

The new facility will include a call center, back office, customer-support operations and functions for the company’s retirement, employee benefits and individual life businesses, as well as roles within human resources, IT and business support.

– Connie Weber, Arizona Commerce Authority

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Increases in employment fueling need for office space

company office

The Greater Phoenix area has seen an uptick in job creation in recent months, which is leading to a higher demand for office space. Developers are responding to the need, and the market is seeing new projects coming online.

During the past 12 months, employers have added more than 75,000 net new jobs, placing Phoenix among the top 10 markets for new job growth.

In addition, the outlook remains optimistic as businesses expand and new companies come to the Valley. During the third quarter, there were about a dozen companies that announced plans to add workers in Greater Phoenix.

Colliers International in Greater Phoenix

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Mesa positions itself as ‘Innovation District’

light rail

According to the Brookings Institution, Innovation Districts “are geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators, and accelerators. They’re physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically wired, offering mixed-use housing, office, and retail.”

They bring together diverse populations looking for better places to live, work and play, which drives an eclectic mix of housing, jobs and amenities.

The recent Brookings’ study found that Downtown Mesa is well-positioned with many of the key attributes in place, or in various stages of development, that are necessary to become a robust Innovation District.

– Bill Jabjiniak, City of Mesa

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Arizona’s state, business tax climate ranks in middle of the pack

track race

The Tax Foundation, the nation’s leading independent tax policy research organization, released its 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index. The index measures how well states structure their tax systems.

Arizona ranked 27th on the 2019 index, while nearby states of Utah and Nevada ranked 8th and 9th, respectively. Fellow Western states Colorado and New Mexico ranked 18th and 25th, respectively.

The top-ranked states were Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, Florida and Montana. The bottom-ranked states were New Jersey, California and New York. The District of Columbia, while not technically a state, ranked 46th.

– Tax Foundation reports

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Arizona to add one million residents by 2026

Arizona add one million residents

The state Office of Economic Opportunity reports that Arizona will add more than 543,000 net new jobs by 2026, while adding another million residents in the process.

Currently, Arizona’s population is 7.1 million, with 4.8 million in Greater Phoenix. Maricopa County will likely account for 75 percent of all Arizona gains, with the rest of the state accounting for the remaining percentage. Health care and education are expected to create the highest number of jobs.

The report also noted that Yavapai County is projected to grow employment by 2.1 percent annually, matching the fastest pace statewide.

Office of Economic Opportunity reports

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Leaders from Arizona and Sonora discuss economic development in binational meeting in Phoenix

Arizona Sonora Megaregion Meeting

Elected officials, business leaders and economic development professionals from Arizona and Sonora participated in the 2018 Arizona-Sonora Megaregion Meeting in Phoenix, the first meeting since Andrés Manuel López Obrador became president-elect of Mexico.

The objective of the meeting was to expand local government connections, establish best practices, identify collaborative opportunities and provide a forum to speak on binational policy matters. Leaders from both nations discussed tourism, the shift in Mexican politics and the upcoming inland international cargo hub at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport that will house both U.S. and Mexican customs called SkyBridge Arizona.

– Maricopa Association of Governments reports

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Arizona GDP growth outpaces national rate

Arizona GDP

According to a newly released report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Arizona’s gross domestic product grew by 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

Real estate posted the biggest gains from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018, at 0.48 percent. It was followed by retail at 0.43 percent and finance and insurance at 0.31 percent.

Arizona’s rate was the 10th fastest nationwide, ahead of the overall national growth rate of 2.2 percent. In total, 48 states reported increases, with Washington reporting the highest growth overall (3.6 percent).

– Bureau of Economic Analysis reports

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6 communication jobs that didn’t exist 15 years ago

Many companies are looking at different ways to market their business, product or service. In the past, hiring a marketer or communicator was sufficient. Today, considering how people consume information and make purchasing decisions, those positions have morphed into something new, with titles and skills to match.

Some of these positions focus on understanding the digital landscape and the tools to measure success. Here are six:

1. Digital inbound marketing specialist

2. Social media influencer

3. Web analyst

4. Chief listening officer

5. SEO specialist

6. Brand journalist

While some jobs may have officially “retired,” dozens more have been added.

– Hollie Geitner, The Pittsburgh 100