20061222 welcometoarizona
A sign reading 'Arizona, The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You' along the state's New Mexico border on Interstate 10 - 


LISA NAPOLI: The Census Bureau said today Arizona's beat out Nevada as the fastest-growing state in the nation. Annie Baxter says the 213,000 people who've moved into Arizona in the last year or so aren't enough.

ANNIE BAXTER: Arizona has been one of the fastest-growing states for years.

Economists say that's due to a lot of factors: It has a high birth rate. It's a border state, so immigration plays a role. And Arizona is in the Sunbelt.

Census figures show the West is the fastest-growing region in the U.S. with its population climbing at 1.5 percent.

In spite of Arizona's growth, unemployment remains low. And according to University of Arizona economist Marshall Vest, the labor market could use still more bodies.

MARSHALL VEST: Even though we have a lot of people moving here, labor is hard to come by. Arizona is the state where growth is good and too much is just right.

Vest says the downside to the burgeoning population is the drain it can put on the public sector.

I'm Annie Baxter for Marketplace.