Southern Nevada has emerged from the recession and is headed toward resurgence, economic analyst Jeremy Aguero told about 500 business and community leaders Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel.
One of the most important signs is construction growth. The industry expanded more than any other in Southern Nevada during the past 12 months, increasing 9.3 percent in 2013.
“We have survived the worst economic downturn in our community’s history, by a long shot,” Aguero said as he walked the audience through the 34th annual Las Vegas Perspective, a 162-page book stuffed with housing, employment, retail, real estate and tourism data. “Many of our companies are in better shape than they were going into the recession.”
New home prices increased by 37 percent, to about $300,000, in 2013, while resale prices have increased 23 percent, to $160,000, but Aguero expects those rates to flatten in 2014.
“The fact our housing prices escalated at such a tremendous level is something we need to keep a very close eye on,” said Aguero, a principal with the local research firm Applied Analysis. “Those numbers are not sustainable. We know they are not sustainable, and we have real threats relative to creating another bubble.”
Employment in the state was up 1.7 percent in 2013 over the previous year, while unemployment remains at 9.5 percent, according to the report.
Aguero said he expects unemployment to dip to roughly 8 percent by the end of 2014.
Perspective also dedicates 11 pages to schools across Southern Nevada, from questions about preschool to higher education.
Nevada first lady Kathleen Sandoval told the audience this is the only state without a business-driven effort committed to early childhood education. The Clark County School District is the nation’s fifth-largest, with 314,643 students, according to the Perspective.
She urged business leaders to provide early-childhood education incentives for employees, “just like we do with health benefits.”
About 36 percent of 500 people surveyed for the report said they thought the school system was “poor,” while another 36 percent rated it “fair.” Roughly 24 percent called the system “good.”
“Creating a diverse economic structure of quality workforce and better quality of life for Nevadans starts with early-childhood education,” said Sandoval, a Nevada ambassador with the national campaign Strong Start for Children.
Jonas Peterson, chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, noted that the report points to “broad improvement across the economy.” Peterson said he has seen about a 30 percent uptick in client activity in the past year.
“We’re particularly excited about the increasing demand from businesses that want to move here. We just need to build the buildings that will fit their needs,” he said. “We’re simply running out of large industrial space. ... We’re missing out on hundreds of jobs, thousands of jobs.”
The Las Vegas Perspective publication can be purchased for $50 starting today at http://www.lvperspective.com/.
Contact reporter David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5290.