The volume of commercialin Phoenix may help shed some light on a question that has puzzled regional economists: Why do some cities mired in a housing bust continue to enjoy strong economic growth? In Phoenix, the answer appears to be that commercial construction is helping to cushion the fall.
Phoenix led the nation's major employmentin job growth during 2005 and 2006. But job growth slowed in the second quarter of 2007 to a 1.2% annualized rate, dipping below the national average of 1.3%.
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Ken Simonson, chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America, who's quoted in this piece, has been talking about this issue for a while. He says the government's employment figures, for example, chronically undercount the impact of commercial real estate on construction jobs.