CEDS | SWOT Analysis

Western Arizona Economic Development District

2.0 SWOT Analysis

2.1 Analysis of Economic Development

Where are we now?

An in-depth analysis of regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, environment, and threats.

How do the region's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats serve as guideposts for charting a path to the future?

Identifies the critical internal and external factors that speak to the region’s unique assets and competitive positioning.

2.2 Strengths & Weaknesses

SWOT is a planning tool to identify strategies for a more resilient economy. Our Regional stakeholders must seize Opportunities by building on Strengths and addressing Weaknesses while managing Threats to success.

Isolation is not generally considered an economic asset. However, for some areas of our Region, relative isolation and substantial empty territory have been advantageous. There are getting to be fewer and fewer places where major power generation facilities can be sited without protest, or large military installations can be located without conflicting with other users.

Our Region’s communities have benefited from being able to provide locations for both types of development. For example, Yuma Proving Ground and Marine Corps Air Station are located near Yuma. They are an essential contributor to our Region’s economy. U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground installation generated an annual economic impact in 2017 of over $1.1 billion; and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma's economic impact in our local Region in 2017 is $887 million, according to the 2017 Maguire Report.

Our Region is also becoming a location for commercial power generation. Industrial power generators already operating within our Region include CalEnergy Generation in Yuma County and Griffith Energy in Mohave County.

Other energy-related projects have been proposed for Region communities, including a proposed solar power plant in La Paz County. Development was stopped after all permitting, etc., was completed. Our Region has also provided sites for commercial testing grounds beside the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground.

One factor attracting such developments and installations to our Region is the relative isolation of much of our regional land from major urban centers and mostly unpopulated areas such facilities can locate.

2.2.1 Other identified regional strengths:

2.3 Other regional attributes & dynamics:

2.3.1 Broadband needs

Broadband Defined:

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) currently defines broadband as an internet connection with at least 25 Mbps (transfer of “mega bit per second”) of download speed and at least 3 Mbps of upload speed.

Broadband access is an increasingly important issue for economic well-being, particularly in our rural communities.

Broadband is linked to better business performance, farm profits, and enhanced opportunities for rural entrepreneurship. It is also linked to higher home values and higher educational outcomes at grade school and high school levels.

Broadband access also corresponds to improved health outcomes, which can lead to higher worker productivity. Yet, despite these benefits, access to high-quality broadband is limited in many communities throughout western Arizona, which impedes progress toward rural prosperity.

See April 25, 2021 @yumasun newspaper article, "BROADENING OUT: Yuma County pushes for broadband interconnectivity"

Regional Annual Economic Benefit of Broadband

Municipality Dollars (est.)
City of Kingman $41,892,603
City of San Luis $14,594,669
City of Somerton $8,295,974
City of Yuma $60,358,008
La Paz County (Not enough data to report)
Lake Havasu City $19,843,581
Mohave County $150,562,139
Town of Wellton $2,291,577
Yuma County $128,611,815
Region Total: $279,611,815

Source: National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) & U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), 2019

We continue to assist our communities with broadband planning and funding, and educating the public on access, affordability, and adoption.

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2.4 Problems & Opportunities

Like most states, Arizona recruits new businesses and industries to develop its economy and fortify itself against future economic downturns. Arizona has traditionally relied upon population growth as its primary commercial driver — building our economy via construction, tourism, and retirement-related industries.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic, which began affecting Arizona in March 2020, dramatically curtailed population growth and tourism, devastating our housing markets, reducing state revenues, driving up unemployment, and sending shock waves through all economic sectors.

The United States as a whole has suffered from a prolonged recession and, now, COVID-19 pandemic, but Arizona’s economy took a disproportionately negative hit. Ideally, disasters like the Great Recession (December 2007 - June 2009) and the COVID-19 pandemic contain lessons. The lesson this time, while not new, is clear: Arizona’s historical reliance on growth has made our state too vulnerable to recessionary downturns — past, present, and future.

As a result, local and state leaders have begun looking for ways to diversify Arizona’s economy. To that end, most cities and towns in Arizona and some counties and Arizona as a whole have pursued economic development efforts to explore new industrial sectors, better utilize existing resources, attract new businesses, retain current industries and promote a more skilled workforce. Facing a similar one-industry dilemma, Nevada commissioned an economic strategic plan two years ago and is moving forward with implementation.

Arizona has an uphill battle. The nation’s other 49 states are chasing the same dream and, in many cases, the same dollars. Global competition is fierce and growing. Arizona is merely one economy competing in a world of thousands. And most industries and businesses are understandably inclined to set up shop wherever circumstances are most favorable.

2.4.1 Other identified regional weaknesses:

2.4.2 Other identified regional threats:

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