Pima County Makes Biggest Gains in U.S. in Talent Attraction

Pima County made the biggest gains in the country in attracting talent to the region, according to recent analysis from Emsi, an international labor market data company.

Emsi’s data crunchers regularly examine community trends in the competition for talent. This year, the company specifically analyzed how existing trends in remote work brought on by the pandemic have affected the ability to attract talent to the region.

By using data on population and migration, growth of jobs and skilled workers, regional competitiveness and education attainment, the company created an index that ranked large (100,000+ population), small (5,000-99,999), and micro counties (less than 5,000). 

Among those large counties, Pima County made the biggest gains in talent attraction, jumping from 546 to 91. That jump of 455 spots comes on the heels of a steady rise since 2016, culminating in Pima County’s leap last year when it climbed 269 spots.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the jump in rankings wasn’t surprising. He believes the county is well-positioned to recover economically from the pandemic, given its strong partnership with members of the business community as part of its Back to Business efforts.

“Pima County has always been a vibrant, thriving community with plenty of cultural, recreational and education opportunities,” Huckelberry said. “Not only are we home to one of the top research universities in the country, we also offer strong job prospects, dozens of hiking and biking trails, and more than 300 days a sunshine a year.”

Indeed, Moody’s Analytics in a spring 2020 report said the Tucson region was among the top 10 best areas to recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Large urban centers are seeing residents who wish to live in less populated areas such as Tucson where home prices and homes searches still remain strong.

Joe Snell, president and CEO of Sun Corridor Inc., the region’s economic development arm, believes the region will continue to prosper long past the pandemic. 

“Tucson has transformed itself from a college town to a robust business center with a strong talent pool,” Snell said. “Notable companies like Raytheon, Caterpillar, Amazon and others have taken notice and expanded operations in Southern Arizona.

 “We have wide open spaces and an affordable cost of living and doing business,” he said. “That’s why “the region experienced strong pre-pandemic growth, with nearly $100 million in capital investment over the past five years.”

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