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Las Vegas is thriving under a population boom, expert says

Las Vegas is thriving under a population boom.

Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst at Applied Analysis, said Tuesday 4.9 people on average have moved to Las Vegas every hour over the last year.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 600 at the 38th annual Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance’s Perspective event, Aguero said the population expansion in Nevada over the last year was nearly three times the national average and placed the city at second for fastest-growing population rate in any state.

“It’s been fantastic for us,” he said during the event at Park MGM. It “means new business opportunities. Every one of them is a new consumer, every one of them is a new employee.”

Of those new residents, 34 percent came from California. Aguero said many were attracted to the neighboring state’s affordable homes, growing tech sector and reputation as a business-friendly state. Today, San Jose natives can expect to pay around $2,000 to rent a U-Haul to Las Vegas. Returning would cost only $100, he said.

“They’ll essentially pay you to bring it back,” Aguero said.

In part due to this rapid growth, more investors are finding economic opportunities in Las Vegas. There are currently $18 billion in planned, proposed and current construction projects in Las Vegas today, ranging from the new Raiders stadium to road work.

I know Project Neon is a giant pain ... (but) when it is done, that 30 percent increase in capacity in that area is going to change the potential for our community as a whole … it’s putting people back to work and reinvesting in our community.

Jeremy Aguero

In order to continue this growth, Aguero said the state needs to invest in transportation and education. With more businesses coming to Nevada — there have been 9,900 new businesses in the state since 2011, he said — there’s a lack of employees for businesses that want to grow.

A fundamental step to drawing in more businesses and people is “building that market and making the best Southern Nevada that we can to get the most growth and the most out of our market,” Aguero said. “And we are doing that.”

Only 23.5 percent of Nevadans have a bachelor’s degree or higher, making it the 45th lowest state for this level of educational attainment. Aguero pointed to a lack of bilingual teachers and large class sizes within Clark County School District, among other factors.

“We are going to have to attack it where it is broken,” he said. “If we are going to be honest with ourselves in terms of funding education, we have to figure out how to do it and how to do it right.”

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@review-journal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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