The City of Yuma is widely seen as a business-friendly community. City elected officials and staff project a “can do” attitude and a willingness to work with business throughout the siting and development process. Yuma’s positive business climate reflects four factors:
- A reasonable and predictable development process
- A commitment to customer service
- An attractive cost-of-doing business
- A city committed to being competitive in the marketplace
The City of Yuma has a well-defined development process that offers problem-solving and provides predictability for companies and the development community.
- The Department of Community Development (DCD) is a key touchpoint for developers on issues related to planning, development, and zoning. DCD also organizes and manages the Pre-Development Meeting (PDM) initiative to facilitate and expedite development activity in the City.
- The Economic Development Office serves as a coordinator and gateway for new business entrants into Yuma.
- The City’s attractive cost-of-doing business structure is documented in the recently completed Comparative Operating Cost Analysis by Applied Economics LLC. The 2018 report benchmarks the operating costs for a food processing facility in Yuma versus a California city
- Yuma offers performance-based incentives consistent with state statutes. Keys to the availability of incentives is the creation of good paying jobs, a positive economic impact analysis, and meaningful capital investment.
The Yuma economy is built on three pillars;
- Military installations/defense
The $3.2 billion agribusiness sector is the primary contributor to the City’s economy. Leading Yuma area crops include:
- Melons and cantaloupes
- Lettuce and broccoli
- Lemons and tangerines
- Wheat and cotton
The region is also a producer of beef and milk. Agribusiness employs more than 9,000 people fulltime in the region and growing with many thousands of seasonal workers in September through March. The expanse of the City’s agricultural industry has helped spawn a variety of related activities in manufacturing such as food processing and distribution operations. Examples are Almark Eggs, Marlin Packing, Datepac, Advanced Cooling Systems, and Associated Citrus Packers. Yuma is home to 25 fresh produce cooler facilities and four citrus packing plants.
The second sector making a significant impact on the area economy is military installations and defense. Yuma is home to two of the nation’s largest military installations; Yuma Proving Grounds (870,000 acres) and Marine Corps Air Station – Yuma (4,800 acres).
- YPG has 3,000+ civilian employees and generates an annual economic impact of over $430 million.
- MCAS employs over 7,500 people and generates an annual economic impact of $500 million.
- MCAS is home to the first operational F-35 squadron in the U.S. At full deployment, MCAS Yuma will house five squadrons of F-35B’s totaling 80 aircraft.
- Yuma Proving Ground is one of the largest military installations in the entire western world covering 1,350 square miles. The primary mission of Yuma Proving Ground is to ensure that the weapon systems and equipment issued to soldiers function safely and as intended.
- In a typical year at Yuma Proving Ground’s Yuma Test Center, tens of thousands of artillery, mortar and missile rounds are fired, 36,000 parachute drops take place, over 130,000 miles are driven on test vehicles, and nearly 4,000 air sorties are flown.
- The significant presence of YPG and MCAS establishes Yuma as a unique and unmatched environment for companies providing or supporting aircraft and defense testing activities.
The current list of Yuma area companies operating in this space is lengthy.
Manufacturing and distribution operations are a growing part of the Yuma economy and gaining impact in the community. Fueling Yuma’s manufacturing and distribution operations are:
- Proximity to the California border and its proximity to Mexico
- Location on I-8 with direct access to S. California and eastbound bound access to Phoenix
- Single-day freighting access to more than 52 million consumers while avoiding the regulatory and high cost of doing business for companies domiciled in California.
- Two Ports of Entry in San Luis 23 miles southwest of Yuma.
- Over 2,000 people are currently employed in manufacturing and/or distribution operations
- Yuma has added four new industrial enterprises since 2016 providing over 450 new jobs.
- MPW, an Ohio-based firm specializing in water purification/regeneration and a provider of a variety of other industrial-related services is constructing a new 30,000 sf facility to serve California and the Southwest.
- Almark Eggs opened a new 100,000 sq. ft. processing facility in Yuma in June 2018.
Through the combined outreach of the City of Yuma, Greater Yuma EDC, and 4FrontED, aggressive business recruitment efforts are targeting food processing, manufacturing, renewable energy, and defense/aerospace companies. Emerging sectors for growth and attraction are metal fabrication, medical products, and plastics.
Finally, during the winter months, tourism’s impact becomes clear in Yuma and Yuma County. As a result, tourism takes its place as an important contributor to the Yuma area economy with a direct travel spending impact of nearly $700 million annually. Why do tourists flock to Yuma area?
- Yuma holds the Guinness World Record as the sunniest city in the world with sunshine 91 percent of daylight hours and certainly as the sunniest city in the U.S.
- The Yuma area’s sunshine is complimented by being the driest and least humid City in the nation.
- Yuma's average annual rainfall is about three inches.
- The average annual high and low temperature is 88 and 62 degrees, respectively.
- Complementing the weather’s appeal is Yuma’s low cost of living.
Once tourists arrive in Yuma, they find a myriad of things to do including golf, festivals, outdoor concerts, kayaking, biking, hiking, and casinos. The 25 minute drive to the Mexican communities of San Luis Rio Colorado or Los Algodones is also of interest to Yuma visitors. Los Algodones, and to a lesser degree San Luis Rio Colorado, have emerged as locations for medical tourism (dentistry).
Additional visitor information on the Yuma area can be obtained from Visit Yuma at 1-800-293-0071.
The Yuma economy has shown continuous improvement since 2010. The unemployment rate in 2010 was 22.7 percent and reads 10.9 percent in November 2018. The number of people unemployed has declined by more than 5,000. In 2016, the City had a Per Capita Personal Income of $33,365 compared to a figure of $27,049 in 2010, a gain of over 23 percent.