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During difficult economic times like these, nothing is more valuable than a good job.

As an economist, I routinely advise community and business leaders on how to recruit and create more of these jobs. The answers are rarely easy, and the task has become more challenging amid a pandemic that almost overnight left hundreds of thousands of Arizonans unemployed.

Fortunately for the West Valley, an opportunity looms that promises to create over 1,100 jobs for this community. That was the key finding of an economic-impact analysis my firm recently conducted on a new cross-dock facility planned for a property adjacent to Luke Air Force Base, northwest of the corner of Camelback Road and 152nd Avenue.

Distribution facilities like these are used for the transport of palletized goods across Arizona and nationwide. Due to recent shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and many other products, we’ve all become more familiar with the essential role these facilities play in the nation’s supply chain.

Construction of the cross-dock facility will require a private, $40 million capital investment. Approximately 450 jobs will be created to construct the project, scheduled to break ground in the fall. An additional 400-600 permanent on-site jobs are forecast once the facility becomes operational.

Full-time workers are expected to make over $25/hour, and annual payroll will total $20 million to $30 million.

These kinds of figures are critical when completing any kind of dynamic economic analysis, because they help determine secondary impacts. Corporate payroll trickles across the community, supporting restaurants, clothing stores and small businesses of all kinds—and their employees. Think of it like a stone dropping into a still pond, with waves of economic benefit rolling out across the West Valley and metro Phoenix.

Specifically, our analysis found the cross-dock facility will support:

• More than 550 jobs (direct and indirect or induced) while under construction.

• Economic output during the construction phase is estimated at $78 million.

• 1,120 on-site and regional jobs once the facility is operational.

• Total economic output will exceed $150 million/year.

When last we checked, hundreds of thousands of Arizonans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. These individuals aren’t looking for a handout; they need good jobs.

At its essence, that’s what this cross-dock facility represents: good jobs and quality economic investment for the West Valley. It has never been needed more than now. 

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors should approve this project so construction can begin. Let’s get people back to work!