Employment Growth by Industry

Pinpoint Shadow  Learn About Employment Growth by Industry in Tucson, Arizona MSA

How are we doing?

Growth Rate of Total NonFarm Employment (2023)


In 2023, total nonfarm employment for the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) increased by 1.6%. That was a decline from 2022, when growth was 3.6%. In comparison, Phoenix’s employment increased by 3.0%, and statewide jobs increased by 2.6%. Compared to peer western metropolitan statistical areas, Tucson’s job gains fell near the bottom, placing 10th among peers. Austin posted the largest gain in employment at 4.5%, followed by Las Vegas at 3.7%. Las Vegas was hit especially hard by the pandemic in 2020 due to its large share of jobs in leisure & hospitality. While job growth has been slow relative to peer western MSAs over the past few years, it’s important to remember that Tucson has replaced all of the jobs lost during the early months of the pandemic and has returned to a more historic growth rate. To view the preliminary monthly job data for Tucson, visit the award-winning Arizona’s Economy online magazine or download the free Arizona’s Economy smartphone app.

Why is it important?

The rate at which total employment changes is a key indicator of the overall performance of an economy. Employment growth reflects a region’s ability to generate jobs, income, and economic opportunities for those living in that region. Slow job growth can lead to increases in unemployment, reduced wages for those employed, and a decline in overall economic growth. Employment growth, subdivided by industry, informs us what industries dominate the employment mix and how that mix is changing over time. 

How do we compare?

Tucson posted a 1.6% increase in employment from 2022 to 2023. Arizona’s increase in total nonfarm employment of 2.6% surpassed Tucson and was the seventh-highest among western states. Arizona’s job gains were driven mostly by the Phoenix MSA, which posted a 3.0% increase in 2023. California posted the slowest growth in employment of the western states at 0.9%, while Nevada had the fastest at 3.4%. Nevada, like Las Vegas, was hit especially hard by the pandemic in 2020 due to the large share of jobs in leisure & hospitality.

What are the key trends?

Total employment growth in the Tucson MSA was slow to rebound from the 2008 – 2009 recession. However, employment growth in Tucson picked up in 2019 to 2.3%. That was the fastest growth posted since the 2008-2009 recession. Employment growth then rapidly declined in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Tucson’s loss of 4.5% in 2020 was slightly better than the national loss of 5.8%. In 2021, Tucson’s job growth increased by 2.1%. Tucson’s employment gains in 2022 grew even faster at 3.6%. That was slower than the state or the nation, but it was the fastest job growth in 16 years. In 2023, Tucson's employment growth returned to levels seen prior to the pandemic.

How is it measured?

Employment by industry is estimated based on a survey of employers. It reflects the number of jobs at establishments located within an area. An individual who works at two separate establishments during a year will be counted twice. Employment data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics (CES). The CES collects monthly survey data on employment, hours, and earnings of workers on nonfarm payroll. All military data come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).