MAY 16, 2012

Rebound in progress, but still years from full economic recovery

Forecasts delivered at W. P. Carey School Economic Outlook Luncheon
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TEMPE – Despite positive growth, full economic recovery is still two years away for the nation and at least three years away for Arizona. That message was delivered today by top economists from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The experts spoke at the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon sponsored by the Economic Club of Phoenix.

“Arizona lost 314,000 jobs during the recession, and we’ve only added back around 25 percent of those,” explained Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We’ll probably pick up about 48,000 jobs this year in the state, but it will be three to four years until we can expect to see full recovery.”

McPheters says Phoenix is on its way to a significant rebound, having ranked No. 4 among the nation’s large cities for total job growth from March 2011 to March 2012. Arizona is already back to its position as a Top 10 job-growth state, ranking No. 8 for the same time period. Health care and hospitality are two of the fields doing relatively well in the recovery here.

“Arizona’s recovery will be slow, but it appears sustainable as long as the U.S. economy stays on track,” said McPheters. “Businesses should plan now for long-term improvement.”
Nationally, McPheters says the country has already gained back 40 percent of the 8.9 million jobs it lost during the recession.

However, Robert Mittelstaedt, dean and professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, said, “Many experts are still looking at the national-debt situation as an issue. April was the first time since September 2008 that we’ve had a monthly surplus, and that is not likely to be repeated anytime soon.”

Mittelstaedt points out that the recent peak for the U.S. deficit was 10.1 percent, which happened in 2009. The last time the national debt was at that level or worse was all the way back in 1945.

Professor Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School, gave an analysis of the state’s budget situation. He says taxes on individuals are relatively low in Arizona, and the public pensions are generally solvent. Also, the recent upswing in the economy has helped provide some stabilization for incoming state revenue, even though tax collections as a share of income have continued to fall for years. However, the current clarity in the fiscal picture will start to get cloudy again.

“Next year, the temporary sales tax will expire, and within five years, the Arizona corporate income-tax rate will be about 30 percent lower than it is today,” explained Hoffman. “This presents some fiscal challenges that will have to be managed.”

As for the housing market, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School, delivered some good news for hard-hit homeowners.
He said, “Home prices are on the rise in the Phoenix area, and we expect that trend to continue.”

The median single-family home price already went up more than 20 percent from March 2011 to March 2012. The bounce was from $112,000 last March to $134,900 this March.
“Most homes under $250,000 are attracting multiple offers within a couple of days, and there are far more buyers than sellers,” said Orr. “We’ve also seen a big shift in the types of transactions in the market from a focus on lender-owned home sales to a rise in normal resales, new-home sales, investor flips and short sales.”

The number of foreclosures completed this March was down a whopping 60 percent from last March. Also, the number of delinquencies on loans – those who are behind on payments, but not in foreclosure – is down 51 percent. All of this means the supply of lower-priced homes in the area is down to less than a month’s worth of inventory, and new-home construction is cranking up to try to help meet the demand.

Today’s Economic Outlook Luncheon was held at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. The Economic Club of Phoenix hosts the Economic Outlook Luncheon every spring, as one of its opportunities for Valley business leaders and others to network and engage. The club was founded by a group of prominent business executives called the Dean’s Council of 100, in conjunction with the W. P. Carey School of Business. More information about the club can be found at

Today’s presentations will be posted at knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource, at

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is one of the top-ranked and largest business schools in the United States. The school is internationally regarded for its research productivity and its distinguished faculty members, including a Nobel Prize winner. Students come from 94 countries and include more than 50 National Merit Scholars. For more information, please visit and

MAY 16, 2012

Six technology start-ups win the Spring 2012 Arizona Innovation Challenge

Companies will be awarded a share of $1.5 million
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PHOENIX – Six start-up companies have won the Arizona Commerce Authority's Spring 2012 Arizona Innovation Challenge. The ACA awarded prizes between $100,000 and $250,000 to companies at a luncheon ceremony in downtown Phoenix. The winning companies were selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants. After a four month evaluation and review process, which included in-person pitches, a panel of expert evaluators selected the winners.

"The ACA and the state of Arizona have made an investment in these six promising startups. These companies are the best of the best and represent the impressive innovative talent Arizona possesses. We expect these companies to live up to the challenge, and we look forward to seeing their future success," said ACA President and CEO Don Cardon. 

The Spring 2012 Arizona Innovation Challenge winners are:

Agave Semiconductor

Phoenix, AZ
CEO: Dr. Robert Brannen, PhD
Agave Semiconductor's technology optimizes the energy efficiency of electric motors, including applications in portable medical devices and cloud server fans.

Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals

Tucson, AZ
CEO: Jeffrey Jacob
CPP is a pharmaceutical company developing cancer prevention therapies to reduce the risk of cancer for people with elevated risk.

HJ3 Composite Technologies

Tucson, AZ
CEO: James Butler
HJ3 produces carbon fiber reinforced polymer products used to repair the failing infrastructure worldwide.

Kutta Radios

Phoenix, AZ
President: Matthew Savoca
Kutta Radios provides next generation radio products to mine operators and first responders to enhance their communications capability, especially in times of emergency.

MaxQ Technologies

Chandler, AZ
CEO: Memo Romero
MaxQ manufactures advanced liquid cooled coldplates used to cool power converter systems in several markets, including renewable energy.


San Francisco, CA (relocating to Metro Phoenix, AZ)
CEO: Dave Albertson
Wholesalefund has a proprietary technology platform that helps consumer packaged goods manufacturers get quality products on store shelves more quickly and easily.

The six winning companies will be required to commercialize their technology and generate revenue within one year of the award.

The Arizona Innovation Challenge is the largest financial prize of its kind in the country.  It advances innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in Arizona by supporting early stage ventures in Arizona's targeted industries of renewable energy and sustainability, bio and life sciences, electronics, information technologies, aerospace and defense and advanced manufacturing. The ACA will award a total of $3 million to deserving start-ups in 2012. The Fall 2012 Arizona Innovation Challenge will begin accepting applications on August 15.