By 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked
healthcare and social assistance as some of the largest industries in Arizona, mirroring the majority of the rest of the country. But from 1990 to 2010, according to the Bureau, retail was the largest industry in the state, at the forefront of a spread throughout much of the west and southwest.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Arizona’s top five
job classifications for November 2014, by number of people employed (seasonally adjusted), as:
- 1. Trade, transportation, and utilities: 494,000
- 3. Professional and business services: 390,700
- 4. Leisure and hospitality: 290,800
- 5. Financial activity: 195,300
However, a 2014 ranking of Arizona employers by The Arizona Republic
still listed retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the biggest employer in the state, with Banner Health, a healthcare company, as second — followed by grocery chains Kroger Co. and Albertsons Inc.
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Arizona was ranked first in the United States by the Solar Energy Industries Association in terms of employment per capita in the solar energy industry in 2012. The Arizona Commerce Authority cited
more than 300 days of sunshine a year and a renewable energy tax incentive program that offered up to a 10 percent credit on income taxes and a 75 percent tax reduction on property taxes.
The state commerce authority also lists biosciences as a rapidly growing industry in Arizona
, with the number of jobs growing by almost 45 percent from 2002 to 2011, to about 100,000 jobs. The number of firms increased 31 percent to almost 900 in the same period. Research and development spending was $452 million in 2011, a 55 percent increase from 2002.
The commerce authority also cites rapid development
in high-tech manufacturing, including defense, and — owing to the dry, stable climate — data storage centers.
The Arizona Office of Tourism lists
manufacturing, mining (gold and silver, but mostly copper), and tourism (37 million visitors in 2008, with more than 170,000 jobs in travel and lodging) as the state’s major industries.
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