Everything on which the state was built seemed to be teetering atop a fault line.
Too many houses. Not enough buyers. Too much debt. Not enough equity. Too much reliance on retail sales taxes from shoppers who suddenly quit shopping. Too many hotel rooms for conventiongoers and vacationers who suddenly quit traveling.
Without a more diverse business base, the ripple effects spread to almost everybody. Layoffs, or fears of cutbacks, led to less consumer spending, which triggered further layoffs.
Overall, Arizona lost more than one-tenth of its non-farm jobs, a higher percentage than was lost in the beleaguered auto state of Michigan.
An estimated 275,000 Arizona jobs were lost in the recession. Foreclosures, known as trustee sales in Arizona, hit 49,808 in metro Phoenix in 2010, compared with 47,992 in 2009. The median existing-home price has fallen to about $119,000, compared with a peak of $267,500 in September 2006, according to real-estate data analyst Information Market and Arizona State University.
A record 28,849 people in metro Phoenix had bankruptcies finalized in the first 11 months of 2010 - a 12-month record achieved in only 11 months.
The scaling back, and the drop in wealth, is palpable.