Yuma Arizona Target Industry Analysis and Market Study

The Challenge

The City of Yuma embarked on a strategic journey in 2022 to bolster its economic development initiatives. Recognizing the dynamic nature of the business landscape, the city initiated a Target Industry Analysis and Market Study. The primary objective was to elevate business attraction efforts by formulating a robust business recruitment strategy. Yuma had previously identified target industries within its strategic plan, and this new study was designed to revisit those targets to confirm that they remain good choices for the city.

A competitive bidding process was initiated to select a partner for this study. At the completion of the bidding, the city selected the expertise of Thomas P. Miller and Associates (TPMA), a distinguished national economic development consultancy based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

About the Client

The groundwork for this transformative project was laid through an evaluation of the city’s strategic plan and proposals. The City of Yuma, in collaboration with various entities such as city departments, local communities, city council, and regional partners, identified several target industries. These industries were deemed critical for aligning with the city’s assets, fostering growth, and addressing emerging economic trends. Given the constantly evolving nature of business and industry, the city deemed it necessary to revisit the industries that had been selected previously to make sure they remained a good fit for what the city offers.

Understanding the significance of targeting specific industries is fundamental to effective economic development. Recognizing that no community can be all things to all sectors, the focus was on identifying Yuma’s key competitive strengths. The intent was to concentrate economic development activities on industries that best matched those strengths. The approach extends beyond attracting new businesses; it involves understanding and addressing the needs of existing businesses, cultivating an environment conducive to new business growth, and aligning activities with a shared vision for the entire community.

Investments and programs designed for target industries were positioned to benefit all sectors of the local economy. The Target Industry Analysis and Market Study provided a comprehensive list of recommended target industries for the City of Yuma, complete with detailed profiles of each industry. These profiles included descriptions, economic trends, and locational strengths and requirements, such as workforce skills and regulatory needs.

How TPMA Helped

The TPMA team, armed with insights from Yuma residents, delved into a comprehensive analysis of potential industry matches. Data from reputable sources such as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Census Bureau, and EMSI Burning Glass were scrutinized. At the end of the analysis, the industries selected by this study needed to meet four specific criteria –

1. Complemented or capitalized on Yuma’s unique assets and competitive advantages.
2. Coincided with the City of Yuma’s Economic Development Goals.
3. Were poised for continued growth.
4. Addressed an unmet need in the region or capitalized on supply gaps in the regional economy.

The identification of potential target industries underwent further scrutiny through simulations to estimate their economic impact on the region. This thorough review led to the identification of five unique industry clusters, each comprising distinct niche markets. These clusters were carefully chosen based on their alignment with Yuma’s strengths and their potential to contribute significantly to the local economy.

1 – Advanced Manufacturing

In advanced manufacturing, the exploration of aerospace and defense emerged as a focal point. This cluster delved into various subsectors, encompassing aircraft manufacturing, the production of aircraft parts, guided missile and space vehicle manufacturing, as well as propulsion unit production. In the technology sector, a particular focus on electronic assembly and storage battery manufacturing emerged, aligning with the city's strategic vision for technological advancement.

2 – Logistics and Processing

Under logistics and processing, specific attention was directed towards agriculture development. This niche market concentrated on nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizer manufacturing, strategically leveraging Yuma's robust agricultural sector. Additionally, the manufacturing and transportation subgroup eyed machine shops, engine equipment manufacturing, engineering services, and freight transportation arrangements.

3 – Science, Energy, and Technology

The analysis for science, energy, and technology pinpointed device manufacturing, emphasizing semiconductor and related device production. The tech services niche market was also explored, delving into data processing, hosting, related services, computer programming, and technical consulting services. These sectors were identified for their potential to drive technological innovation and economic growth in Yuma.

4 – Entertainment

Entertainment proved to be another important cluster in this study. The recreation subgroup emphasized breweries and distilleries as key components of the city's economic expansion. Other potential areas for growth in the entertainment niche market are performing arts, amusement, and theme parks.

5 – Life Sciences

Finally, the life sciences cluster examined medical manufacturing, particularly in surgical and medical instrument manufacturing. Furthermore, the research and development subgroup delved into biotechnology research and development, physical, engineering, and life sciences research, as well as medical laboratories.

Supporting Documentation

A marketing strategy for Yuma was designed to identify and recruit industries highlighted in the diversification study. This strategic document included top location factors, key talking points, marketable strengths, and potential challenges for business attraction, providing a roadmap for the city’s economic development initiatives.

An in-depth overview of the labor market utilized data from authoritative sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This document highlighted critical information about the region, its industries, and the occupations constituting the workforce, offering valuable insights into the dynamics of Yuma’s labor market.

The summary of focus groups and stakeholder conversations provided a structured compilation of insights, organizing them around regional assets, challenges, desired industry opportunities, and potential competitors. This document served as a qualitative repository of community input, ensuring that the economic development strategy aligned with the aspirations and concerns of local stakeholders.

A comparative analysis with competitor regions offered a strategic perspective. Regions such as Albuquerque, NM; Maricopa County, AZ; Flagstaff, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; San Diego, CA; and St. George, UT, were scrutinized in terms of population factors, average compensation, and industry composition. This comparative analysis provided a broader context for understanding Yuma’s competitive positioning within the regional landscape.

To amplify the impact of economic development activities, alignment with broader regional and statewide programs was crucial. The City of Yuma’s identified target industries dovetailed with the objectives outlined by the Arizona Department of Commerce and City Council. By aligning local targets with broader regional and state initiatives, Yuma aimed to leverage additional resources for marketing, education, and financial support.

The Outcome

Thomas P. Miller and Associates, in collaboration with the City of Yuma, completed a comprehensive Target Industry Analysis and Market Study. The study identified key target industries that aligned with Yuma’s strengths, and provided actionable insights for economic development. As these findings are leveraged in the years to come, the City of Yuma is well-positioned to attract and nurture industries that contribute to regional growth, job creation, and overall prosperity.