While many Pima County residents are expressing optimism in the local economy’s recovery, some still rate it as average or poor and the availability of affordable housing remains a big concern.
A new poll conducted by Strongpoint Opinion Research, in partnership with the Arizona Daily Star, shows 24 percent of respondents believe the local economy is good or excellent and 34 percent believe it is poor or terrible.
The “I don’t know” response garnered 3 percent of the responses and 39 percent believe the local economy is average.
The poll asked people their thoughts on everything from opportunities for job growth to how well schools are preparing students to enter the workforce.
Despite new job announcements in recent months, 33 percent of respondents said availability of local employment opportunities is terrible or poor, 36 percent said it was average and 18 percent thought it was good or excellent. The rest said they didn’t know.
Many industry experts have noted these new job announcements, from Caterpillar Surface Mining to Hexagon Mining, are expected to be filled with transferred workers — versus local hiring — and 40 percent of those surveyed think opportunities for career growth are terrible or poor, with only 15 percent believing they’re good or excellent.
Affordable housing also remains a concern.
The median new home price has surpassed $300,000 in the Tucson market, occupancy rates for rentals are at all-time highs and rents are on the rise across the city as few market-rate apartment projects are in the pipeline.
The survey showed 52 percent of respondents think the availability of affordable housing is terrible or poor and 11 percent rated it good or excellent. The rest said it was average or they didn’t know.
Still, 42 percent of respondents think the local economy is much or somewhat better in the past five years, with only 28 percent saying it is somewhat or much worse. The rest said it was about the same or didn’t know.
Looking to the future, the survey shows only 7 percent of those polled believe the school system is doing extremely or very well in preparing students to enter the workforce, with 42 percent saying schools are not at all or only slightly preparing students. The survey did not ask about specific career fields.
The poll was conducted in September and involved 2,050 respondents.