Employment Review | November 2023


Employment Review Highlights:

  • Southern Nevada’s employment sets new historical high
  • Major events helped grow tourism jobs
  • Wages lag further behind the national average

There are a number of positives taking place in Southern Nevada’s job market despite potential headwinds.

The overall number of jobs in the region has reached record highs, with the latest employment reaching 1.14 million positions. Over the past year, the region has witnessed an increase of 39,100 jobs, reflecting a 3.6 percent growth rate. From September 2022 to September 2023, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and education and health services have experienced the most significant growth, highlighting the resiliency of the regional economy.

Notwithstanding this remarkable job growth, Southern Nevada grapples with an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, roughly 1.6 times the national rate of 3.6 percent. Unemployment rates overall have posted modest increases during the year. Southern Nevada’s unemployment rate has grown by 0.4 percent since the previous year, while the national unemployment rate has risen by 0.3 percent during the same period. Despite having the highest unemployment rate in the nation among large metro areas, it is critical to consider Las Vegas’s historical context – Nevada’s unemployment rate peaked at 30.3 percent during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which reflected the highest unemployment rate in modern history among any major metropolitan area.

Southern Nevada’s economy has made great strides and continues to demonstrate opportunity that lies on the horizon, particularly with major events such as the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix race and the Super Bowl. Economic activity sourced to these events are impressive – an estimated $1.3 billion in the first year of the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix and $600-million-plus from Super Bowl LVIII. Beyond special events, notable construction projects are expected to make contributions, including the recent opening of The Sphere and upcoming debuts of both Durango Casino and Resort and Fontainebleau Las Vegas.

The broader economic expansion, strong consumer spending and rebounding visitor volume has the leisure and hospitality sector leading the region in job creation, with 16,500 new employees hired between September 2022 and September 2023. Other signs of a growing economy are robust, too, with an additional 12,000 professionals in business services and 6,800 more employees in education and health services.

The tightening labor market exerted broader upward pressure on wages at the heels of the pandemic, but more recent data suggests flattening trends with average weekly wage in Southern Nevada currently standing at $998, a 0.4 percent decrease from one year ago. Local wages remain 15.8 percent below the national average.

Importantly, Nevada consistently ranks among the nation’s top performers in terms of annual job growth, a robust indicator of economic vitality. But at the same time, it maintains the highest unemployment rate in the nation, typically associated with economic vulnerability. In part, this is due to the expansion of the labor force, a testament to the robust economy. The trajectory of Southern Nevada’s employment post-pandemic performance has translated into an impressive recovery curve. This resurgence underscores both the fortitude of the regional economy and the ingenuity of local business and the labor force.