Good News in Southern Nevada

The economy that has been struggling toward recovery since hitting bottom in 2010 is more robust than ever. Gaming revenues are on the rise, tourism is at almost-peak levels, and employment is up. The housing market is on the mend too.

Gains to accelerate through 2015-16

The recession that hit Southern Nevada and turned its fortunes to fiasco is now history. Multiple reports say the economy in the Silver State will continue to strengthen throughout 2014 as tourism, gaming, construction and the housing industries rebound.

Several years ago, it seemed the economy couldn’t get worse in Southern Nevada, which was harder-hit than any state in the United States. The rebound, once it started, was painfully slow. Now current trends indicate the region is in full recovery mode. Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas told industry leaders at UNLV’s midyear economic outlook seminar last week that the regional economy “is improving and at an accelerating rate. But the great news is that the growth is widespread across Southern Nevada’s industries.”

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, this is the fourth straight year of economic gains in the region, and the pace should quicken into 2015 and 2016. Visitors are back in record numbers and gaming revenue is climbing at just under 3 percent. Strip resorts are behind most of the growth, the Review-Journal reported.

Gaming still hasn’t matched the $1.1 billion in average monthly gross gaming revenue of late 2007. But it has risen from the 2010 low to a more than $900 million monthly average in 2014.

“It’s been established that the closer you are to the Las Vegas Strip, the bigger the share you’re getting,” Brown said. “As you move away from the Strip to other parts of Las Vegas, to other parts of Clark County and all of Nevada, the growth isn’t quite as strong.”

After a collapse in residential construction from 2007 to 2010, housing is finally starting to rebound. Home prices are on the rise with Las Vegas prices up 44.8 percent since hitting bottom in early 2012. According to the Associated Press, the lack of single-family housing supply is pushing up real estate prices.

The report points out bright spots in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector, noting that Las Vegas is on track to break its record of 39.7 million visitors in one year. But it also notes that gambling revenues in Clark County were 13.3 percent below their pre-recession peak as of March 2014.