The University of Arizona and the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base are major employers in Tucson. The University of Arizona is regarded as one of the top research universities in the nation and plays a significant role in attracting new companies to the area. The US Army Intelligence Center is located nearby and is the largest employer in the region. The prominent high-tech and aerospace industries provide a large number of jobs. Tucson is over 8 times more concentrated in the aerospace products and parts manufacturing industry than the average for all the metropolitan areas in the nation according to economy.com.
Tucson has over 100 biosciences companies. The city also has more than 150 transportation and logistics providers. Tucson is sometimes called "Optics Valley" due to the vast number of companies involved in the design and manufacturing of optics and optoelectronic systems.
Tourism brings in over 3.5 million visitors each year and employs about one-tenth of the labor force. In addition, those making Tucson their winter home as well as middle and upper-class Mexicans crossing the border to purchase goods stimulate the economy. The region's copper mining industry adds to the economy although it has upturns and downturns. The arts also produce a significant amount of revenue.
Shown below, in descending order, are the top job providing industries in Tucson:
- Transportation and utilities
- Education and health services
- Professional and business services
- Leisure and hospitality
- Financial activities
The Milken Institute ranked Tucson as the 7th "Best Performing City" out of 200 metropolitan areas. The strong growth of the high-tech sector was a major factor in the high ranking. Over three hundred Tucson companies are directly involved in information technology. Some of the other expanding high-tech industries are environmental technology, bio-industry, aerospace and advanced composite materials.
The Greater Tucson Economic Council utilizes the industry cluster concept. The goal of the program is to attract new companies by emphasizing collaboration and increasing research and production capabilities. The clusters include environmental technology, aerospace, optics, information technology, life sciences and advanced materials. Arizona tries to create new jobs by providing programs such as enterprise and foreign trade zones, a workforce development and job training program and research and development tax credits.
Shown below is a list of the major hi-tech and manufacturing companies located in the Tucson area:
- Raytheon Missile Systems
- Texas Instruments
- Universal Avionics
- Sunquest Information Systems
- Bombartdier Aerospace
- Ventana Medical Systems
- Allied Signal
- Weiser Lock
- Environmental Air Products
- Krueger Industries>
The primary non-high-tech and non-manufacturing companies located in the Tucson area:
- Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
- University of Arizona
- Tucson Unified School District
- Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold
- City of Tucson
- Carondelet Health Care
- TMC Health Care
- Corrections Corp. of America
- Southern Arizona VA Health Care
- Target Stores
- Phelps Dodge
Business organizations available to assist Tucson companies:
The Inside Tucson Business provides information about the current business activities in Tucson.