- Associated Press - Saturday, March 11, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The Phoenix metro area is expected to significantly outpace the rest of Arizona in job growth during a two-year span ending in mid-2018.

The state Office of Economic Opportunity projects employment will increase 2.8 percent each year in the Phoenix area, which includes Maricopa and Pinal counties.

That compares with a 1.3 percent increase in the Tucson metro area, a 1.5 percent rise in the rest of the state and 2.4 percent jump statewide.

The office says the Tucson area’s projected growth rate is strong for the region, which only had a growth rate of 0.7 percent during two years ending in mid-2016.

Employment in Arizona is projected to reach nearly 3 million by mid-2018.

That would be an increase of nearly 140,000 jobs during the two-year period, with the Phoenix area accounting for 83 percent of the increase.

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