Conference reveals challenges in Arizona's economy

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More than five hundred people gathered at a conference room at the Westin La Paloma resort to hear the economic forecast for Arizona's upcoming fiscal year.

University of Arizona professor Marshall Vest says the state of Arizona's economy is hurting.

"Since mid year I see the economy actually losing momentum once again and actually giving back some of those gains," said Professor Vest.

Area business men and women got an outlook Friday afternoon of Arizona's economic future.

"We try to give them a sense of where we are right now and what the prospects are for the next 2 years 2011-2012," said Vest.

The picture experts are painting include big cuts and an unemployment rate that will remain high.

"Unemployment rate is still high and its going to stay high for at least several more months its going to take a long time to bring unemployment down," said Vest.

But the picture painted at the conference was not entirely gloomy.

"Companies in biotechnology and in solar that have announced over the past few months that are moving or expanding in Arizona," said Vest.

Those companies will boost the economy.

Some other good news to add about the economy.  The City of Tucson has reviewed more than 60 new contracts for new construction, which could mean more jobs in the city in the future.