It’s a new year, which means new opportunities for growth — maybe even for our economy.
At least that’s what Pima County residents think.
According to a community poll by Strongpoint Opinion Research and the Arizona Daily Star, the majority of respondents — 71 percent — say they’re at least somewhat confident that Pima County will see economic growth in 2019.
Only 29 percent say they’re not at all confident.
The poll, conducted in mid-January, asked 2,333 people their thoughts on the local and national economy going into 2019.
“I think we’re coming off a solid year in 2018,” says George Hammond, research professor and director of the University of Arizona’s Economic and Business Research Center. “I’m not surprised that most people think we’ll keep growing.”
When asked how the local economy would change from 2018 to 2019, 35 percent of respondents said they feel the economy will be at least somewhat better this year. More than half the respondents said they predict an increase in job creation, though 36 percent feel there will be no change in job growth for 2019.
And although respondents seem optimistic about Pima County’s economic growth, more than half the respondents predict there will be no change for employee wages, infrastructure investment or retail sales.
“It’s reasonable to expect continued job growth,” Hammond says, adding that he would be more optimistic in the category of wage growth, especially given Tucson’s recent minimum wage increase.
Also, about 33 percent of respondents said they expect their household income to increase, while 55 percent expect no change.
However, 67 percent of the respondents say they’re at least somewhat confident that their personal financial situations will improve in 2019. About 33 percent say they’re not at all confident in that.
The majority of respondents also don’t expect any major changes — such as buying a home, changing careers or going back to school — in 2019, but 46 percent say they plan to save more money than they did in 2018.
And for those who plan to make a financial change this year, the majority said their decisions are at least somewhat influenced by their predictions on 2019’s economy.
And in terms of the national economy, 55 percent of respondents say they’re at least somewhat confident that the U.S. will see economic growth, but 46 percent say they’re not at all confident.
“I think that makes a bit of sense to me,” Hammond says. “There’s been quite a bit of talk in the national economy slowing in 2019 and that might be what’s on people’s minds.”
Hammond also mentioned the federal government shutdown specifically, saying that it might have been “weighing on people.”