Phoenix, Arizona, is the sixth largest city in the United States. It is also the capital of Arizona, the county seat of Maricopa County, Arizona's largest city, and the largest capital city in the United States (even larger than Washington, D.C.). According to 2004 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area is the fourteenth largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the United States. As one might expect, the Phoenix metropolitan area has a robust economy. All thirteen of the Fortune 1000 company headquarters that are located in Arizona are located in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Inc. magazine ranked the Phoenix metropolitan area sixth on its list of "Best Cities for Doing Business" in the United States in the large cities category in both 2005 and 2006. Since the inception of the Inc. "Best Cities for Doing Business" list in 2004, Phoenix has never ranked lower than twelfth. The criteria used by Inc. "emphasizes the robustness of a region's growth". Greater Phoenix also ranked 2nd on Expansion Management's list of "America's Hottest Cities" in January of 2003.
As one might expect for a city that is both a state capital, and a county seat, government is a major force in the economy of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The state of Arizona is the largest employer in the Phoenix area. The U.S. military also has a large presence in the area. Luke Air Force Base is located in Phoenix's western suburbs. Tourism and recreation are also a major industry, with an especially vibrant golf industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, major industries in and around Phoenix include (ranked by size of workforce):
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities
- Professional and Business Services
- Educational and Health Services
- Leisure and Hospitality
- Financial Services
Higher education helps to fuel the Phoenix economy with a well educated work force. There are over 440,000 students attending over forty colleges and universities in the greater Phoenix area. 26% of Phoenix residents have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Phoenix is also a major transportation and distribution hub. According to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, "virtually every major population and distribution center in the western United States can be accessed from Greater Phoenix in less than two hours by air, and two days via truck or rail." The Phoenix metropolitan area is served by the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), which is one of the busiest airports in the world.
Some major companies in the Phoenix metropolitan area include:
- Allied Waste Industries
- Amkor Technology
- Apollo Group
- Best Western
- Cold Stone Creamery
- CSK Auto
- Fender Musical Instruments
- Giant Industries
- Insight Enterprises
- Meritage Homes
- Phelps Dodge
- Pinnacle West Capital
- Swift Transportation
- US Airways Group
Many other large corporations who are not based in Phoenix still have very substantial operations in the Phoenix area, including: American Express, Honeywell, Intel, and Motorola.
Some of the major business organizations in the Phoenix metropolitan area include:
- The Arizona Bioindustry Association
- The Arizona Chamber of Commerce
- The Arizona Technology Council
- The Greater Phoenix Economic Council
- The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
- The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce
- The Tempe Chamber of Commerce
The Business Journal of Phoenix, the Arizona Business Gazette, the "Money & Tech Section" of the Arizona Republic, and the "Business Section" of the East Valley Tribune are excellent sources of information on business in the Phoenix metropolitan area.