By Colleen Sparks
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous job loss, there is a bright spot in Phoenix as many companies are expanding and relocating here, bringing hundreds of positions to the area.
Hiring for jobs in logistics in Maricopa and Pinal counties increased by 14.3 percent in February, compared to that month a year earlier, according to a state report. The banking industry in Maricopa and Pinal counties increased its workforce by 5.2 percent in February over that month last year. There was an increase of almost 1 percent in bioscience healthcare hires last year compared to 2019 in Maricopa and Pinal counties. In February, Maricopa and Pinal counties gained 13,400 jobs over January, according to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity.
Arizona tied for the top spot in personal income growth comparing 2020 to 2019. It and Montana reported an 8.4 percent increase in personal income, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Construction was wrapping up, as of press time, on One Camelback, an adaptive reuse high-rise project at 1 E. Camelback Road. Abrazo Health is preparing for an expansion at its campus on Bethany Home Road, slightly west of 19th Avenue, said Christine Mackay, director of the city of Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Department. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) recently broke ground on a plant it is building on land between 51st Avenue and I-17 and between Loop 303 and State Route 74. Another source of jobs already open is ARRIVE Phoenix, a hotel, restaurants, Cartel Coffee shop and other amenities on west Camelback Road.
“Our universities and community colleges create an incredible workforce,” Mackay said. “That personal income growth is because of our workforce. I think that we’re going to see the rest of 2021 be incredibly strong in job growth.”
While the construction industry slowed down a little around Thanksgiving, many new construction projects have started again this year, said Shawn Hutchinson, training director for the Phoenix Electrical JATC (Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee), which is located at 1520 E. Indianola Ave. The school trains students to become journey-level workers in the electrical industry with students doing on-the-job training at different companies. Hospitals’ expansions, school districts upgrading infrastructure and Taiwan Semiconductor’s planned move here have led to many jobs for JATC graduates, Hutchinson said.
YellowBird, a national on-demand marketplace that matches Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) professionals with businesses, also is seeing high demand for workers during this COVID-19 pandemic. Based at 2355 E. Camelback Road, the company has about 2,000 EHS professionals around the country, including about 150 to 200 in Phoenix. Many customers seek these workers to prepare their workplaces for employees to return safely, said Michael Zalle, CEO and co-founder of YellowBird.
“We grew very, very quickly,” Zalle said. “We have continued to be engaged by both large and small companies.”
YellowBird recently starting providing professional and general liability coverage, free-of-charge to its professionals.
Demand is high for employees to work in health-related fields including as nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMT), medical lab technicians and dental hygienists, said Maria A. Reyes, dean of Industry & Public Service, in the Academic Affairs office at Phoenix College. Reyes said there also is much need for workers in the IT and manufacturing industries. The Maricopa IT Institute @ Phoenix College recently opened, where students can earn 30 certificates and six degrees in IT areas.
“Certainly there’s a demand and the demand has continued,” Reyes said. “Work-based experiences is one of the keystone areas of my work, to provide every student a work-based experience before they leave our college.”