34 2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE business 45 Greater Phoenix Economic Indicators 2007 Population 3,907,492 Projected Population by 2030 6.3 million ( up 70 percent) 2006 Median Age 34 ( third youngest metro region nationwide) Median Income $ 51.862 2005 Disposable Income 40 percent Greater Phoenix house-holds: $ 50,000+ annually Consumer Confidence 2007 108 percent 2006 Gross Metro Product $ 160 billion 2007 Labor Force 2,064,300 2007 Employment 1,996,700 Projected Employment by 2030 3.4 million ( up 85.4 percent) 2007 Unemployment Percentage 3.3 percent Greater Phoenix Economic Council 2 N. Central Ave., Suite 2500 Phoenix, AZ 85004 800- 421- 4732 www. gpec. org Source: Greater Phoenix Economic Council The FBR Open, played each February at the TPC of Scottsdale, brings millions of dollars into the local economy. photos: The Arizona Republic GOT TALENT? Greater Phoenix continues to see a positive influx of raw talent, serving more students as it develops a workforce for the future. Annually, more than 20,000 students graduate from college within 150 miles of Greater Phoenix. And more than 380,000 students are enrolled in higher education institutions, among them Arizona State University ( which opened its state- of- the- art downtown Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in August 2008), the nationally renowned Maricopa Community College system and the for- profit education leader University of Phoenix. Pearson Education, a leader in digital curriculum and instruction, is working on making the Valley its global flagship development center, having recently opened a 135,000- square- foot facility in Chandler. QUALITY OF LIFE In 2008, Phoenix was ranked No. 3 by Bizjournals among the " Least Stressful Metro Areas." The factors are easy to see: sunshine and a pleasant climate, a reasonable cost of living, plenty of arts and culture, excellent health care facilities, and outdoor recreation— not to mention hosting the 2008 Super Bowl and the 2009 NBA All- Star game, and the annual FBR Open, the best- attended event on the PGA Tour. In an effort to perpetuate the high quality of life standards, the city has initiated more than 80 environmental sustainability programs. One example can be seen at the new Phoenix Convention Center, which was awarded LEED Silver certification in 2008 by the U. S. Green Building Council for its energy efficiency. Another example is Valley Metro Light Rail, whose trains began running in December 2008. Across the U. S., housing prices have fallen, and Greater Phoenix hasn't been immune — the silver lining being that it's a buyer's market after an unprecedented streak of double- digit growth. " We went into the downturn a lot sooner than the rest of the country," said Todd Sanders, vice president of public affairs for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, " So the expectation is that we'll be coming out of the slump sooner than most."