Despite positive growth, full economic recovery is still two years away for the nation and at least three years away for Arizona, according to top economists from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“Arizona lost 314,000 jobs during the recession, and we’ve only added back around 25 percent of those,” explained Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at ASU. “We’ll probably pick up about 48,000 jobs this year in the state, but it will be three to four years until we can expect to see full recovery.”

McPheters says Phoenix is on its way to a significant rebound, having ranked No. 4 among the nation’s large cities for total job growth from March 2011 to March 2012. Arizona is already back to its position as a Top 10 job-growth state, ranking No. 8 for the same time period. Health care and hospitality are two of the fields doing relatively well in the recovery here.

“Arizona’s recovery will be slow, but it appears sustainable as long as the U.S. economy stays on track,” said McPheters, adding that the country has gained back 40 percent of the 8.9 million jobs it lost during the recession.

Robert Mittelstaedt, dean and professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, pointed out, however, that many experts are still looking at the national-debt situation as an issue. He noted that the recent peak for the U.S. deficit was 10.1 percent, which happened in 2009. The last time the national debt was at that level or worse was all the way back in 1945.

These and other experts spoke at the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon sponsored by the Economic Club of Phoenix in May 1012. Their full presentations are posted at knowWPCarey.