Here's something you probably don't hear every day: Phoenix is a great place for small-business opportunities.
Good economic news seems rare around Phoenix in the aftermath of the recession, but the National Federation of Independent Business says Phoenix is one of the top cities "opening their doors to entrepreneurs."
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That sounds good to anyone who's noticed that Arizona's unemployment rate hasn't quite rebounded since the recession -- it's the 10th-highest in the nation. Phoenix's unemployment isn't that bad, though. The Phoenix metro area's unemployment rate is the 20th-lowest out of the nation's 50 biggest metro areas.
Actually, Forbes has predicted that Arizona will have the nation's fastest jobs growth, although local business experts have said that full economic recovery from the recession is still a few years out. Here's what the NFIB says about Phoenix's small-business climate:
Phoenix's rebounding economy, favorable climate and entrepreneurial culture attracts many transplanted residents. "The majority of people starting small businesses and prospering here were born somewhere else," [NFIB State Director Farrell] Quinlan says. "That kind of 'new blood' and vitality means opportunities in Phoenix aren't encumbered by an 'old boys network.'"(Note: The NFIB does a fair amount of Republican-friendly lobbying.)
Although the Phoenix and Arizona economies were dependent on new-home construction until the housing bubble burst in 2008, the area has made great strides in diversifying its economy to include more manufacturing and healthcare businesses "so we will never again be so exposed to a sector downturn," Quinlan says.
Additionally, the state has been a leader in low tax rates and regulatory reform. "For instance, House Bill 2013 simplifies the process state agencies must follow when creating rules and regulations they impose on Arizona businesses. This leadership ensures that government serves as a facilitator of economic dynamism rather than a frustrator of job creation," Quinlan says.
Still, as we mentioned, it's not exactly common to hear Phoenix labeled as a place with high prospects of economic prosperity.
This ranking by the NFIB apparently is a big-enough deal that Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton issued a statement on the ranking: "This...is a testament to the actions we're taking to lift small and local businesses. "We're moving in a new economic direction -- one that creates real opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs."
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