Las Vegas Heads toward Sustained Growth

Long-term economic growth that rivals the level prior to the Great Recession is in store for Las Vegas and Southern Nevada if the region can weather the next two years. The same steady economic growth after 2015 can be expected for the entire West, economists told local businessmen in a recent meeting at M Resort, Las Vegas. Regional and national trends were used as the basis for the economists’ forecasts.

The director of Business and Economic Research in the University of Nevada (UNLV), Stephen Brown, noted that although the growth in the region is slower than the rest of the United States, the area is rising from deeper losses. There is still a long way to go in regaining growth in 2007, he said, adding though that the region is improving.

A quarter of a century of unprecedented growth was achieved in Nevada before the precession, recalled Lee McPheters, an economics professor at the Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. Nevada, prior to 2008, wasn’t just the nation’s fastest growing state economy over the previous 25-year period. In terms of job creation and population growth, the state was also the U.S. leader. Reflecting those trends, McPheters said that the biggest economic gains and increases in jobs and population were recorded across the states west of South Dakota during that same 25-year span.

However, when the economic crash came, it fell hardest at these western states, the economist observed. From the highest of high flyers, the region sank to the lowest of the lows, he said. With the current slow economic rebound, however, benefits are coming to the western states. According to McPheters, Arizona and Texas were only behind North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Kentucky in terms of employment growth. Job creation is felt most in North Dakota and Oklahoma on account of the states’ energy development, he said. Cities in the western states, including Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, and Houston, dominate metro areas with the highest job growth, the economist also said.

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