Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday issued a positive report of Arizona’s progress in building its global brand during the 16th Annual International State of the State hosted by the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations (PCFR).
“We’re following what turned out to be one of the most challenging years of our lifetime. Twenty-twenty was tough on kids, tough on our healthcare workers, our first responders, our businesses. I think it’s fair to say that Covid-19 spared no one,” Gov. Ducey said during his address.
But after taking a balanced approach to reopening the economy and moving aggressively to get citizens vaccinated, Arizona is roaring back to normalcy, he said.
Jobs lost last year are now “100 percent” recovered. Industries and people are pouring into the state, said Ducey, who was joined by former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl at the event, which was sponsored by Freeport McMoRan.
About 260 viewers tuned into this year’s address, part of PCFR’s mission to help grow Arizona’s influence on the world stage.
Ducey ticked off a long list of the state’s accomplishments in making Arizona a top contender on the global stage including:
Successful vaccine rollout
While 2020 was a year of hardship and grief for many Arizonans, 2021 is “the year of the vaccination,” he said.
As soon as vaccinations started to become available, mass vaccination and other sites were opened statewide. To date, 4.8 million doses have been administered. The biggest site, State Farm Stadium, has given more than 7,000 doses a day. Last week, the stadium reached the 800,000 mark. Now, vaccination sites are moving indoors as the summer approaches. State Farm’s operation is moving down the street to the nearby Gila River Arena.
Supply is close to outstripping demand, said Ducey, who encouraged those who have not been vaccinated to get one now.
“We are on the last lap of this marathon right now. I think it’s important that we stay vigilant. It’s important that we stay responsible.”
Full recovery of jobs lost
Before the pandemic and today, Arizona remains near the top of the nation for personal income and population growth. Arizona has now recovered 100 percent of the jobs lost over the past year.
Much of that can be contributed to a “considerable amount” of companies relocating and expanding in the state. Companies like Amazon, Red Bull, NXP Semiconductors, Zoom, Electrica Mecanica, Align Technology, and on and on.
New industries have created more than 22,000 new manufacturing jobs alone. The state projects another 300,000 jobs to arrive by next spring.
Global hub for semiconductor industry
Arizona is becoming a magnet for the semiconductor sector. In the past year, several companies have announced expansion or relocation projects. Two of the largest are:
– Intel announced a $20 billion expansion of its manufacturing operations in Chandler, the largest private sector investment in the state’s history. The investment is expected to create 3,000 new high-tech, high-paying jobs, and 3,000 construction jobs and support an estimated 15,000 indirect jobs.
– Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company selected Arizona for its new U.S. advanced semiconductor factory. The project will create more than 1,600 new high-tech jobs and generate thousands of additional jobs in the state for suppliers and other companies within the semiconductor industry. TSMC’s total spending on this project, including capital expenditure, will be approximately $12 billion from 2021 to 2029.
International partnerships expanding with new trade offices
Arizona continues to strengthen its relationship with two of its top trading partners, Canada and Mexico. It also is building strong relationships with many other countries like China, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
Over the past couple of years, it opened three new trade offices in Chihuahua and Guanajuato, Mexico, and Tel Aviv, Israel. These trade offices are helping business expansion in healthcare, aerospace, defense, auto and other sectors.
Since 2015, the state has added an additional $6.4 billion to education and teacher raises. Of that, $400 million was added during the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, math and reading scores were improving.
Moving forward, Ducey is focused on helping Arizona students, particularly low-income students, catch up from the pandemic disruptions. The state is targeting funding for broadband for rural areas and extra services for students who need it most.
“Step one is we’ve got to get our kids caught up. It’s a very special kid who can learn via Zoom, especially in the younger grades.”
Healthy water supply, reliable electricity, rainy day fund
In conclusion, Ducey touched on other reasons Arizona is becoming a top competitor for economic development on the international front. Planning and investment for future water supplies, affordable and reliable electricity, and a state budget with a large rainy day fund.
“We’ve made Arizona a better place and a place where anyone can build their life and career and chase down their definition of the American dream.”