Arizona Economic Developers Optimistic About Growth Opportunities Article originally posted on AZ Big Media on May 9, 2022 The Arizona Association for Economic Development announced the results of its State of Arizona Economic Development survey at its recent spring conference. AAED surveyed its membership of more than 500 economic development practitioners and those that provide goods and services from the private sector. Key takeaways from the survey include: • Strong economic outlook for the next year • Without available buildings, skilled labor/talent and adequate infrastructure, communities will struggle • Economic developers must increasingly address workforce issues • Practitioners and providers view infrastructure differently • Providers are more likely to include education and workforce development in infrastructure conversation • Economic developers must work to address NIMBY-ism and anti-development sentiment in communities (and work with providers) There were 111 total respondents to the written survey, 70 practitioners and 41 providers. This representative sample mirrors the makeup of the AAED membership. A majority of the practitioners were from state and local government. With a wide variety of industries represented in the survey, contractor/constructor was the most represented on the private side, closely followed by consultant, engineer and architect. When asked about budgets, 50% of respondents saw no change in their budgets. Those economic developers representing rural communities throughout the state were more likely to see a decrease in their budgets vs. total respondents. For cities with populations are greater than 250,000, there were no budget decreases seen and increases occurred in a slightly higher share of large cities than for respondents overall. “Overwhelmingly, our respondents felt the economic growth outlook for the next 12 months is strong,” said Carrie Kelly AAED’s executive director. “Although there are still challenges such as the need for skilled labor and inadequate infrastructure, our members seen tremendous growth opportunities in the coming months.” The survey committee included Kristen Stephenson, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Sarah Murley, Applied Economics, Jennifer Graves, Town of Gilbert, Tami Ursenbach, Mohave County and Ryan Jones, Regional Economic Development Center at Yavapai College.