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PHOENIX -- A new report said Arizona and Texas are at the top of the class when it comes to expected job growth in the next few years.

The Forbes Best States for Business was based in part on Moody's Analytics projection of 3 percent job growth in Arizona in the next five years.

The state's housing market is recovering nicely, with a 19 percent increases in home prices from July 2012 to July 2013. Arizona is starting to add thousands of jobs in construction and tourism. The report also cites GM's expected hiring of 1,000 workers for its new tech center in Chandler and Go Daddy hiring 300 new employees for its tech center in Tempe.

Despite the positives, Garrick Taylor with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry said there's a number of things Arizona can't match up with Texas on.

"Petroleum exports, gas and oil. A larger border with Mexico to bring in increased commerce between Texas and Mexico."

Taylor said the battle for jobs in the Southwest is never-ending and Arizona can't take its foot off the gas.

"In the tax arena, the labor environment, the legal arena," he said. "Do we have a system in place that employers want to expand? It seems, according to the authors of this report, the answer is yes. There's recognition beyond the state's borders that we're hitting the right notes. In the past three years, the legislature has done a lot to put the tools in our job attraction toolbox. That includes corporate tax reform, making the state friendlier to export businesses and it includes standing up the Arizona Commerce Authority which replaced the largely ineffective Arizona Department of Commerce."

At the peak of the recession, Arizona lost 300,000 jobs, with about 200,000 of those jobs in construction. Those jobs have not returned. Taylor is concerned with Arizona's high unemployment rate, which continues to hover around 8 percent.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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