Tucson is one of the few U.S. cities its size that can boast of a symphony, ballet, opera and live theater company. The University of Arizona remains the largest single employer with more than 10,000 employees, while Davis-Monthan AFB employs over 8,000 and infuses over $680 million each year into the local economy.
Tourism is an important source of income, contributing over $1.8 billion to the Pima County economy in the past year, and continues to be a major part of the economic base producing some 40,000 jobs.
Manufacturing employment in metropolitan Tucson has more than doubled in the past 10 years. This growth is due to the increase of high technology manufacturers locating and expanding in Pima County. These manufacturers include Texas Instruments, Bombardier, Honeywell, SlimFast, and Raytheon Missile Systems Co.
Tucson is world renowned for development of its seven "high-tech clusters," which include Optics, Teleservices, Aerospace, Plastics, Information Technology, Environmental Science, and Biotechnology.
The area was recently dubbed "Optics Valley," and continues to draw these types of firms due in part to the University of Arizonas Optical Sciences Center, as well as the Universitys Science & Technology Park.
Some of the employers who have recently relocated to the Tucson area include: Plastics Molding Corp.; SlimFast; Chenga Fwa; Aristocrat, Inc.; Walbro Engine; Cricket Communications; and, Card Management Corp.
Current Pima County unemployment levels are still among the lowest recorded in the last 30 years. Arizona had the nations highest economic growth during the past decade. During 2000, Arizona was the fastest growing state for employment. Tucson was the most rapidly growing area in the United States for the first half of 2000, and second of all metro areas in annual growth rate of employment. Only four counties larger than Pima grew more rapidly between 1990-1999. Tucson added about 20,000 jobs in 1999-2000. For the next five years, Tucson is projected to be the 13th most rapidly growing metro area for employment.
January, 2001 Employment Figures:
Force: 387,600 (-2.4% from December of 2000)
METRO AREA EMPLOYMENT**
*Transportation, Communications, and Public Utilities
& Business Research Program, College of Business & Public
Administration, Univ. of Arizona, February of 2001
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