Perspective Update | December 2023

Education Edition



The public’s confidence in our region’s education system is alarmingly low. You’ve all seen the headlines: “Nevada Public Schools are Rated the Worst in the Nation.” And in a recent community survey, only 26% of respondents said they believe students are being taught the skills they need to get a job after graduation.

But those stories don’t tell the whole truth.

The truth is that while our region does struggle with its education metrics, we have schools that perform higher than the national average. The Clark County School District’s Career and Technical Education academies rank extremely high nationally, with Southeast Career and Technical Academy even being named the best magnet school in the country in 2022.

Additionally, students enrolled in the region’s charter schools out-perform their peers on a statewide and national level. And don’t forget, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo’s approved $12 billion in funding for K-12 education over the next biennium.

LVGEA and our education partners are working on a campaign to highlight these, and other, positive education stories in the region. We’d love your feedback on who and what we should be highlighting!

In the meantime, in this Perspective Update newsletter, you’ll find the full results from that community survey I mentioned earlier testing sentiments around our region’s education system. While we’ve got work to do, LVGEA believes we are making strides towards providing a quality education for all students, and we are excited to see 70% of respondents believe Nevada should increase school funding, even if it means our taxes increase. We’ve also got an economic update from Applied Analysis and an updated list of the region’s economic development stats. Enjoy!


This community survey examined the opinions and attitudes of the Las Vegas workforce, testing sentiments around our region’s education systems. This web-based survey was commissioned by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance and conducted in Spring 2023. 

Respondents were selected from the current Clark County workforce and do not include retirees, students and other unemployed workers. The sample size of the survey was 500 with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence interval.






Key Points:

  • Southern Nevada has reached a record high employment of 1.2 million jobs, marking a 3.5 percent increase from the previous year.
  • Las Vegas’s recognition as the nation’s top spot for business startups, climbing eight positions in the latest ranking report, underscores the city’s appeal for entrepreneurs, contributing to a 130.0 percent increase in startup employment since 2020.
  • There are over 60,000 private businesses in Las Vegas, a 7.1 percent increase from early 2020, aligning with the national trend of increased business applications and job creation, which has particularly favored smaller, younger firms for innovation and productivity growth.

As Southern Nevada enters 2024, the region’s economic landscape shows positive trends. Key indicators reflect a robust recovery from economic challenges of the past. The labor market, tourism industry and business startup community have all contributed to Southern Nevada’s economic well-being over the past year. Ongoing investments and increased business formation activity underscore the region’s commitment to progress and provide opportunities to enhance public revenue sources.

Southern Nevada employment reached a record high of 1.2 million jobs as of October 2023, reflecting a net gain of 39,500 (+3.5 percent) on the year. The current unemployment rate of 5.4 percent is the lowest since the peak of 32.5 percent during the height of COVID-19. Average weekly wages rose to $999.19 in October, an increase of 1.8 percent from the previous month, although year-over-year growth dipped slightly (-1.3 percent). Employment in sectors such as manufacturing and professional and business services have grown particularly fast at respective rates of 9.6 percent (+2,800) and 5.3 percent (+9,000) compared to one year earlier. Leisure and hospitality fully rebounded to pre-pandemic levels during the year and steadily increased employment to 302,200 employees, representing 4.4 percent growth from 2022 (+12,800).

Along with leisure and hospitality employment, key visitation metrics indicate a positive trajectory for the tourism industry. Las Vegas visitor volume exceeded 40.7 million in October (trailing twelve-month total), a 6.1 percent increase from the previous year. Gaming revenue continued its hot streak, with October marking the ninth month this year that gaming win exceeded $1.0 billion. Average room rates reached an all-time high of $233.22, blowing past the previous record of $213.25 set in March 2023 by 9.4 percent. Hotel occupancy came in at 87.7 percent during October, making this only the third time in almost four years that rates have exceeded 87 percent. For reference, the average occupancy during 2019 was 88.9. The success of recent major events including the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix and the National Finals Rodeo, coupled with upcoming events like Super Bowl LXI and the CES trade show, are expected to further drive tourism gains in the new year. When November tourism performance metrics are released in late December, the expectation is that special events will propel these figures even further.

According to a report by Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA), the City of Las Vegas ranked as the nation’s top spot for business startups in 2023, climbing eight spots from the prior report. Las Vegas moved past multiple cities to claim No. 1, including previous winners Austin, Texas, Wilmington, Delaware, and Seattle, Washington. Annual studies conducted by CCA use data from over 6,000 companies that have raised funds, and the firm’s annual rankings are based on factors such as the amount of funds raised, the number of offerings, average valuations, the number of investors and success rates. The Las Vegas metro area was home to 942 startups in 2023 (year-to-date) that employed over 30,100 people – a 130.0 percent increase in startup employment since 2020. The startup community has attracted over $4.0 billion in investments, with notable contributions from sectors such as fintech ($126.0 million), gaming ($58.0 million), media ($53.5 million), travel ($44.8 million) and sports ($43.0 million).

The Las Vegas startup community aligns with the rapid national business growth trend seen in the years since the pandemic. Nationally, new business applications grew rapidly in the latter half of 2020, remaining high through mid-2023 and supplementing job creation. Smaller and younger firms became more favored due to this shift, which led to renewed innovation and productivity growth. The business environment has also thrived in Southern Nevada, with the region housing more than 60,000 private businesses as of the second quarter of 2023. This represents an increase of 7.1 percent since early 2020. While many employees worked at large companies with over 1,000 employees, three-quarters of Southern Nevada business locations employ fewer than ten people.

Southern Nevada’s economic landscape for 2024 is shaped by diverse trends across various sectors. With stable employment growth, notable startup growth and encouraging tourism indicators, the region appears positioned for continued resilience and adaptability in the year ahead.

This newsletter is made possible with the support of our PERSPECTIVE Council: