LVRJ: Las Vegas Growth Still Robust

Jennifer Robison discusses Las Vegas’ continued growth in today’s RJ:

Today, with job growth flat … the Silver State should experience tougher times attracting fresh blood.

But local experts say Nevada continues to lead much of the country in growth…

One key element of growth that’s more easily measured than sometimes lagging state statistics is public school enrollment.  The number of students in Las Vegas schools continues to grow.

Robison further notes:

  • State Demographer Jeff Hardcastle reported 95,287 new Nevadans between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2007, the latest period for which he has data. That’s on par with the 100,000 or so new residents the state typically added annually in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau in December named Nevada the nation’s No. 1 state for growth in the year ending July 1, 2007.
    • Nevada’s growth rate of 2.9 percent placed the state in the top spot for expansion for the 20th time in 21 years.
  • After several months of lagging behind year-over-year results, July’s turn-ins actually matched surrenders from July 2007, with totals in both months coming in at just over 6,100 licenses.

According to Brian Gordon, a principal in local economic research firm Applied Analysis:

“People are certainly still coming here….We’re expected to continue to hold the top spot going forward based on fundamentals in our market.”

Gordon says that new residents persist in coming partly because things are worse where they live now.

Nevada continues to enjoy a lower cost of living than California, so the Silver State holds appeal to people relocating from there.

People also move for noneconomic benefits such as warmer weather, recreational and entertainment opportunities or proximity to family, said Keith Schwer, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

According to Gordon:

70,000 to 80,000 new neighbors bring fresh sales prospects for retailers, restaurants and builders. That could lead to more tax revenue, especially as the housing market stabilizes and consumer confidence improves.

-Frothing Mark

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