Employment Review | February 2020




Southern Nevada’s economy closed 2019 on a positive trajectory, with employment growth a key highlight among the trends that have fueled expansion in recent years. The Las Vegas metropolitan area’s employment base reached 1.05 million in December 2019, which represented a relatively strong 2.5 percent annual growth rate that once again exceeded the national rate of 1.4 percent. The 25,200 jobs added over the past year in Southern Nevada were scattered across a wide range of industries, representative of a broad-based expansion that is benefitting the majority of industries.
Employment growth in Southern Nevada was driven by the construction and leisure and hospitality sectors. Recent growth in these sectors has been aided by a mix of a strong consumer economy driving visitation growth and substantial construction activity throughout the region on projects including Allegiant Stadium and Resorts World Las Vegas. During 2019, construction employment in Southern Nevada grew by 9,400 jobs (+14.2 percent), and the leisure and hospitality industry expanded by 7,200 jobs (+2.5 percent). Other noteworthy areas of employment growth included professional and business services (+5,000 jobs, +3.4 percent), financial activities (+3,700 jobs, +6.9 percent), education and health services (+2,100 jobs, +2.0 percent), manufacturing (+1,200 jobs, +4.8 percent) and other services jobs (+1,100 jobs, +3.4 percent).
These employment growth trends pushed Southern Nevada’s unemployment rate down to 3.5 percent in December 2019, the lowest mark since 1999. The rate was down 0.2 percentage points from November 2019 and 1.0 percentage points from the prior year.
Average weekly wages in Southern Nevada’s private sector were $842 in December 2019, 2.3 percent higher than at the same point last year, while on a trailing 12-month average basis, weekly wages were up 2.1 percent. Southern Nevada’s construction industry reported the strongest wage growth in 2019, with average weekly wages increasing 10.8 percent from the year before.
Southern Nevada continues to attract new residents at a high rate, particularly Californians seeking employment opportunities and more affordable housing options. This dynamic has been a significant driver of employment growth in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue throughout 2020 as the regional economy remains well positioned for ongoing expansion.

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