/ Modified jan 26, 2015 9:16 a.m.

Tucson Improves Economic Ranking Worldwide

Still not recovered from recession, report says

By Zac Baker

Tucson, Downtown, Development Stock Spotlight Overlooking the Tucson metropolitan area.

Tucson ranks number 149 on a list of the top 300 metropolitan economies in the world, according to the Global MetroMonitor, a report from an economic think tank.

The ranking shows marked improvement from the last report, which was issued in 2012, but still classifies Tucson as not recovered from the recession.

City rankings are determined by two criteria: the overall gross domestic product and employment rates per capita. Tucson jumped 53 spots on the list due to rises in both of those areas, but will not be given the “recovered” status until its GDP and employment rates equal those of the city's prerecession economy, said Joseph Parilla, lead author of the report.

“Neither Phoenix nor Tucson have recovered to those 2000s levels,” Parilla said, “which just reflects how brutal the recession was and the fact that despite economic improvements in 2014, there is still some work to be done to get back to prerecession levels.”

Cities can impact long-term economic success based on how they choose to use their resources, Parilla said.

“They have the ability to make significant investments in things like education and skills, which is probably the most important determinant of success,” he said.

Investing in “local assets” like universities is also important. Research conducted at universities can be turned into local entrepreneurial opportunities that create businesses and jobs. Committing to education and local institutions is “smart for any local leader to do,” Parilla said.

The Global MetroMonitor is produced by Brookings, an economic think tank based in Washington, D.C.

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