(KFYI News) – Statistics from the US Labor Department show Arizona is among the top states in the country when it comes to job growth, with most of that concentrated in the Phoenix metro area.

A news release from Arizona State University's WP Carey School of Business indicates Arizona ranked 10th among all the states in job growth in 2013, with 2.1% job growth over the previous year.

Phoenix ranked 7th among the nation's large metro areas, with 2.7% job growth.  (The top states and metro areas are listed below.)

Business professor Lee McPheters says that's quite a turnaround for our state.  "Arizona was number 49 in the country in job growth in 2010, so the economy is certainly on its way back," he told KFYI News.

McPheters says even though Arizona is usually seen as a tourist destination, the industries with the greatest job growth weren't the traditional retail and hospitality areas.  "When we look at what is driving the economy right now, it's not the retail trade and lower-level service jobs," he said.  "I think that knowledge jobs are getting to be more and more important in the Phoenix area."

With that in mind, "Two of the industries that really seem to be driving the economy right now are finance and information jobs, related to internet services, that sort of thing," McPheters says.

He says efforts by Gov. Jan Brewer and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to attract technology companies seem to be paying off.  In fact, the report shows Phoenix led all large metro areas in information-sector and finance job-growth rates, with Phoenix creating the same number of information jobs in 2013 as the San Francisco metro area.  Phoenix was also first nationwide in finance jobs added.

McPheters says those are the types of jobs we should be attracting.  "These are jobs that pay nationally-competitive wages, and they attract people with college degrees," he says.  "They're the type of jobs that will have a real impact on the local economy."


The top ten STATES for non-farm job growth from 2012 to 2013:

1. North Dakota – up 3.6 percent

2. Utah – up 3.2 percent

3. California – up 3.0 percent

4. Colorado – up 2.9 percent

4. (tie) Texas – up 2.9 percent

6. Nevada – up 2.7 percent

7. Idaho – up 2.6 percent

8. Florida – up 2.5 percent

9. Washington – up 2.2 percent

10. Arizona – up 2.1 percent


The top METRO AREAS for non-farm job growth in 2013:

1. Riverside, CA – up 4.0 percent

2. San Francisco – up 3.9 percent

3. Denver – up 3.6 percent

4. Houston – up 3.5 percent

5. Orlando, FL – up 3.2 percent

6. Seattle – up 2.8 percent

7. Phoenix – up 2.7 percent

8. Dallas – up 2.6 percent

8. (tie) Los Angeles – up 2.6 percent

8. (tie) Miami – up 2.6 percent

8. (tie) San Diego – up 2.6 percent


The bottom ten states for job growth last year were West Virginia (50th), Arkansas (49th), Pennsylvania, Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont, New Mexico, Maine, Virginia, and South Dakota.  The only state that actually lost jobs was West Virginia, where mining employment fell by 5 percent, in addition to job losses in construction and manufacturing.