Mayor Kevin Hartke estimates Chandler will add 5,600 new jobs by the end of this year.
“That’s a banner year for us,” Hartke said. “There’s very few years that I can think of that we’ve seen 5,000 news jobs being brought to our community.”
Speaking before the Horizon Rotary Club, Hartke said Chandler’s already seen 3,100 new jobs in the city during the first three quarters of 2019, and he expects there will be more.
“If you want a job in Chandler, you can find one,” the mayor said.
If Hartke’s prediction turns out to be true, then Chandler’s job growth will remain on track with the upward trend that’s dominated the city for recent years.
According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, Chandler reported 98,259 jobs in 2015, 110,238 jobs in 2016, and 114,398 jobs in 2017. The association’s most recent data shows Chandler with about 117,000 jobs.
The entire East Valley region has generally seen substantial job growth in all its communities, thanks to big companies like Freedom Financial, Paypal, Rogers Corporation, and Bank of West.
In the first half of 2018, more than 4,500 jobs were added in Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert, according to the East Valley Partnership.
On a statewide level, Arizona added 80,000 non-farm jobs during the last fiscal year – making it the second-fastest growing state in the country.
Hartke, who assumed office this year after serving as a councilman, said his priority is to protect Chandler’s five employment corridors for further growth.
The Price Corridor, home to Microchip and Intel, is the city’s biggest corridor with more than 40,000 jobs. The West Chandler Corridor has nearly 28,000 jobs, the Uptown Corridor has about 11,000 jobs, and the Downtown Corridor has 2,200 jobs.
The Airpark Corridor currently has about 9,000 jobs and Hartke said this is Chandler’s fastest-growing corridor with the potential to balloon up to 20,000 jobs.
“This is still our largest area that we can add more employment,” he said.
The mayor said he’s not interested in re-zoning industrial land for developers to build more condos or apartment complexes. His commitment is jobs, he told the Rotary members, and he’s not after call center jobs.
Hartke said he wants to diversify Chandler’s economy with a range of high-paying jobs. This will better protect the city when an inevitable downturn hits the global economy.
“We’ll get a hiccup like everybody else,” the mayor said. “But the more we can preserve our reserves in the city and diversify our economy, it means that we will survive and thrive.”
Among Chandler’s 117,000 jobs, its largest business sectors are high-tech manufacturing, finance, and retail. The city’s unemployment rate has hovered between 3.9 and 4.1 percent over the last year.
Hartke presents himself as a fiscal conservative who values efficiency, yet aims to maintain good public services.
He was received warmly by the Rotary members, who presented him with a certificate and called Hartke the “real deal.”
The mayor indicated he hopes to remain in office through 2027, which is when he’ll be termed out.