Strong economic activity, continued investment in the core tourism industry and expansions in professional occupations contributed to employment gains in Southern Nevada during the latest reporting period. The local market also continues to outpace the nation in terms of overall employment growth. The Las Vegas metropolitan area’s employment base reached 1.03 million in August 2019, which represented a relatively robust 2.0 percent annual growth rate. The current pace of expansion translated into 20,300 new positions sourced to a wide range of industries.
Employment growth in Southern Nevada was driven by the leisure and hospitality sector despite no new major hotel-casino openings. The industry expanded by 7,400 jobs, a year-over-year increase of 2.5 percent, with gains likely attributable to notable renovations and/or expansions (e.g., Palms Casino Resort and Palace Station Hotel & Casino). Construction employment in the area also increased by 4,200 jobs (+6.4 percent) as a result of major investment projects in the tourism sector such as Allegiant Stadium, the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and Resorts World Las Vegas. Other noteworthy areas of employment growth include financial activities (+3,800 jobs, +7.1 percent), education and health services (+2,500 jobs, +2.4 percent), government (+2,200
jobs, +2.2 percent), professional and business services (+1,300 jobs, +0.9 percent), other services (+1,100 jobs, +3.3 percent) and manufacturing (+1,000 jobs, +4.0 percent).
As a result of the employment growth, Southern Nevada’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent during August 2019. The rate is down 0.2 percentage points from July 2019 and 0.3 percentage points from one year prior (August 2018).
Average weekly wages in Southern
Nevada’s private sector stood at $820 in August 2019, which was relatively flat with the same month of a year ago. Monthly data tends to bounce around given any number of factors. During the trailing 12-month average, weekly wages were up about 2.5 percent. Of particular note was the construction industry, which reported year-over-year growth in wages of 10.8 percent during August 2019.
Southern Nevada continues to be sought out as a lower cost of living alternative, particularly for Californians seeking employment. Opportunities ranging from hospitality to healthcare remain abundant. Overall positive employment growth is expected to continue through the balance of
2019 and heading into 2020.