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Report: Arizona's Biggest Growth Will Be In Jobs That Don't Require High School Diploma

A new report shows that the biggest share of jobs Arizona will create in the next two years will be in positions that don't require a high school diploma.

More than one out of every four jobs in Arizona requires no education credentials at all. The state Department of Administration says the number of people working in that category will grow by more than 6.6 percent by the end of 2017. By contrast, the jobs for which a bachelor's or master's degree will be required will increase less than 5.2 percent. And doctoral degree jobs will grow just 4.2 percent.

Daniel Scarpinato, press aide to Gov. Doug Ducey, said the numbers are not bad news. "All jobs matter, all jobs have value, and all citizens, no matter their educational background, deserve a shot at the American dream and supporting themselves and their families," he said.

But economist Lee McPheters of Arizona State University said there's another reason Arizona is not growing jobs as fast for college grads-- money. He said someone who has an engineering degree can find a job here. But McPheters said companies based elsewhere offer higher pay. That leads to complaints by Arizona employers that they can't find enough qualified help.

"Probably, they need to finish that statement by saying there's a shortage of qualified skilled labor at the prevailing wage rates here," he said.

McPheters said employers have instead counted on the "sunshine factor'' to convince folks to work for less in Arizona. But he said that only works for so long. "People have options and other areas pay even more," he said.