A Tale of Two States

Do they have to rub our face in it?

It’s bad enough that Arizona’s looking to implement an ambitious school-choice program. But as a recent article in The Arizona Republic outlined, the Grand Canyon State’s economy is surging.

The paper listed “more than 85 companies, government entities and non-profit organizations collectively advertising more than 27,000 open positions this month,” with each looking for a minimum of 100 new hires.

Yes, some of the positions are for restaurant workers, cashiers, and customer-service representatives. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But many are not. Companies looking to hire include Raytheon, Aetna, Insight Enterprises, Anthem, Intel (ouch), Fresenius Medical Care, Technosoft, Lockheed Martin, Oracle, Mayo Clinic, and Wells Fargo.

In 1910, just before each state joined the union, New Mexico had a population of 327,301. Arizona lagged behind, at 204,354. A century later, much had changed. Arizona’s population is well over 6 million, while its neighbor to the east struggles to top 2 million. (And in recent years, New Mexico has lost population.)

Looking at more recent data, Arizona has soundly bested the Land of Enchantment in recovering from the Great Recession. Both states have gained jobs since their employment troughs, which both occurred in September 2010. But Arizona’s growth has been three times greater:


New Mexico has a lot to learn from Texas. But policymakers should look west, too. It starts with a right-to-work law, but regulatory reform, a simpler and less-burdensome tax system, and school choice have roles to play, too. When will the politicians in Santa Fe get it?