It may not seem like much of a recovery for Arizonans hobbled by job losses or falling home values, but the state's economy actually is improving at a solid clip.
So says Nathaniel Karp, chief economist for BBVA Compass and one of the few bank economists who tracks conditions here.
"Arizona's economic recovery is among the fastest in the country," said Karp, speaking to BBVA Compass clients in Phoenix this week. "And we're seeing a faster recovery compared to a few months ago."
Karp acknowledged challenges remain for both Arizona and the nation. Arizona's state budget is in particularly bad shape, including unfunded pension liabilities, he said.
But he also pointed to relatively strong manufacturing gains and exports, especially in software and other technology items. Other positives include an increase in hours worked for Arizonans with jobs and moderating price declines for home values here.
Karp predicted Arizona's economy would grow 3.4 percent in 2011, better than his projected 3 percent expansion for the U.S.
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