Data Week: Arizona Last in Nation for K-12 Per Pupil Spending on Instruction

June 14, 2019

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Arizona's Economy
Arizona ranks last in the nation for per pupil K-12 spending

Instruction spending includes salaries, employee benefits, supplies, materials, and contractual services. Arizona spent $4,308 per pupil, U.S. average was $7,406.

Current data releases as of 7 June 2019

Per pupil spending for public elementary-secondary education in the U.S. increased by 3.7 percent to $12,201 during the 2017 fiscal year according to the 2017 Annual Survey of School System Finances released by the Census Bureau on May 21. Arizona per pupil spending increased 5.1 percent to $8,003 yet was near the bottom among all states, with only Oklahoma, Idaho and Utah spending less. New York spent the most per pupil in 2017 at $23,091. Arizona ranked last in spending per pupil for instruction at $4,308 compared to $7,406 nationally. Instruction spending includes salaries, employee benefits, supplies, materials, and contractual services. The state also ranked last in spending for school administration ($378 compared to $674 nationally). Within public school systems, Arizona was among the states receiving the highest percentage of their revenues from the federal government – New Mexico (14.4 percent), Mississippi (14.1 percent), Alaska (14.0 percent) Arizona (13.7 percent), and South Dakota (12.8 percent).

Employment increased in 296 of the 349 largest counties in the United States between December 2017 and December 2018 based on the May 22 County Employment and Wages (QCEW) release from BLS. Maricopa had an over-the-year increase in employment of 3.2 percent and Pima increased 1.8 percent for December. Changes in over-the-year employment ranged from Midland County, TX with a gain of 10.0 percent to Bay County, FL with a loss of 5.6 percent. The U.S. average weekly wage increased 3.2 percent over-the-year for the fourth quarter 2018. Wages in Maricopa and Pima counties increased 3.9 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, for the same period. 

Buckeye, Arizona was the fastest-growing large city in the nation for 2018 with an increase of 8.5 percent, while Phoenix was the city with the largest number of people added over the year according to the Census Bureau’s May 23 population estimates for cities and towns. Places in the West and the South lead population increases in 2018, with cities from Arizona and Texas holding the top two places for percent growth (Buckeye, AZ and New Braunfels, TX) and numeric increase (Phoenix, AZ and San Antonio, TX).  Phoenix retained its spot as the fifth-largest city in the nation behind New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.

Phoenix house prices gained 6.1 percent over-the-year in March, which was among the highest price increases in the 20 cities tracked by the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller indices. Las Vegas had the highest year-over-year gains for the month at 8.2 percent followed by Phoenix at 6.1 percent and Tampa at 5.3 percent. In comparison, U.S. national index gained 3.7 percent and the 20-city composite increased 2.7 percent, both of which were lower than the previous month according to the May 28 release. Los Angeles and San Diego had the lowest house price gains with a one-year change of just 1.3% for March.

Home prices in Arizona rose 6.9 percent between the first quarter 2018 and first quarter 2019 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency report released May 28. Arizona rounded out the top ten states for price appreciation with Idaho having the highest prices increase at 13.4 percent. The U.S. price increase was 5.1 percent. State-level price data provided are for purchase only while metropolitan area price data includes both purchases and refinance mortgages. House price changes for Arizona metropolitan areas by one-year increase in the first quarter 2019: Prescott (9.8 percent), Sierra Vista-Douglas (9.3 percent), Tucson (8.2 percent), Lake Havasu City-Kingman (7.8 percent), Phoenix (7.8 percent), Yuma (4.1 percent), and Flagstaff (3.5 percent). 

Real GDP for the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the first quarter 2019 according to the estimate released May 30 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This was similar to the advanced estimate of 3.2 percent released in April. Real GDP for the fourth quarter 2018 was 2.2 percent.

The U.S. trade deficit was $50.8 billion for April, down $1.1 billion from the revised March figure of $51.9 billion. Both exports and import decreased over-the-month.  Exports decreased $4.6 billion to $206.8 billion while imports went down $5.7 billion to $257.6 billion for the month. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit was 2.0 percent higher than the same period in 2018 according to the June 6 joint release from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and U.S. Census Bureau. 

U.S. nonfarm employment added 75,000 in May on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to 224,000 in April and 153,000 in March (both of which were revised down). Professional and business services continued to be the industry with the greatest job growth for the month followed by health care and social assistance according to the June 7 Bureau of Labor Statistics release. The U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent for May.

There were 1,493 bankruptcy filings in Arizona during May, close to the number for May of last year (1,488) and 142 lower than in April. Filings in the Yuma office increased 37.7 percent over-the-year primarily due to a large jump in personal bankruptcies (Chapter 13) for the month. The Phoenix office increased 1.5 percent over-the-year in May while the Tucson office had an 8.7 percent decrease. Year-to-date, total bankruptcies in the state were 7.8 percent higher compared to the same period a year ago.