LVRJ: Las Vegas Growth Still Robust

August 25, 2008

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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A "Credible Correction" Underway in Las Vegas Housing

July 8, 2008

Brian Wargo writes in In Business Las Vegas:

The Las Vegas economy may be battling a recession brought on by higher fuel prices and a slowdown in the nation’s economy, but the region’s housing market is showing signs of improving, according to a UNLV economist.

Keith Schwer, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research, says the housing market has shown its first signs of a “credible correction” and that it’s not just wishful thinking that may have sprouted over the past two years.

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“Most notably, the silver lining in an otherwise turbulent scene is housing,” said Schwer, who gave his midyear economic forecast June 25 at the World Market Center. “The critical factor is housing is correcting and it is not the problem it once was.”

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Schwer’s forecast gives credence to those who think the housing market has been improving in recent months with increased sales in the existing-home market, although the new-home market remains sluggish.

 

Full article here.


Las Vegas Taxable Sales Rise

July 1, 2008

Taxable sales are a good broad measure of economic vitality in the county. They just rose month-over-month for the first gain since October.

Here’s the article.


Economist: "Supply creates its own demand"

June 30, 2008

The Economist looks at the gambling industry in Las Vegas and generally concludes that while profitability will be strained by recessionary factors and by increased supply, the gaming industry is pretty good at stimulating demand:

The casino Titans are adept at dealing with shifts in demand, however. Led by Harrah’s, whose boss, Gary Loveman, is a former economics professor, they have become experts in collecting information about their customers and using it to tailor promotions. Gambling firms also have a knack for carving out new markets. And they are ramping up marketing efforts abroad. The attractions of a weak dollar are clear, even to the unluckiest of European gamblers. “It’s great. Every dollar I lose is only 50 pence,” says Neil Gregory, a British property developer struggling to contain his deficit on the Luxor’s roulette tables. Transatlantic business has also been boosted by boxing extravaganzas featuring European fighters.

Optimists reckon a weak economy and currency could boost domestic demand, too. If past downturns are a guide, a substantial number of Americans will head to Vegas rather than taking expensive holidays abroad, says David Schwartz of the Centre for Gaming Research. And the “whales”, as high-rollers are known, really are immune to economic fluctuations. Some high-end casinos are doing even better this year than last, says Brian Gordon of Applied Analysis.

This leaves some convinced that Vegas will once again defy the sceptics, just as it confounded those who argued that it would be hurt by competition from Californian gambling dens, or that the wave of mega-hotel openings in the 1990s would create crippling overcapacity. History suggests that, in America’s gambling capital at least, supply creates its own demand.


We’re Still Not In a Recession, Day 455

June 27, 2008

The government upped its estimate of growth for the first quarter by 10%. There’s no question that economic activity is weak, but I’ll take 1% growth over recession anyday.

Full Story Here


GHFA on the Latest Vegas Numbers

June 26, 2008

Glass Half-Full Analysis on the latest Economic Indicators

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New Resident Count: Down to 4,612, but it’s still pretty powerful to have nearly 5000 new residents showing up each month.

Total employment: Down less than 5000 from a year ago. In a city with one million jobs, the fact that despite all of the downturn in construction, lending, title, and mortgage, employment is only down 5000 jobs is quite a testament to the underlying growth power of the Las Vegas Region.

New home permits: Down 57%. Remember: this is a good thing. Fewer home permits mean we work through the inventory overhang faster.

Existing Home Sales: Up slightly from last year. There is hardly any other place in the country that sold more homes in May 2008 than they sold in May 2007. Vegas pulled it off because we’re going through a recovery.


Retail Sales Rise Twice As Much as Forecast

June 12, 2008

Bloomberg writes:

Retail sales in the U.S. rose twice as much as forecast in May as Americans used their tax rebates to shop at electronics and department stores, and record gasoline prices swelled service-station receipts.

Purchases climbed 1 percent, the most since November, following a 0.4 percent gain the prior month that was previously reported as a drop, the Commerce Department said in Washington.

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The report bears out Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke‘s assessment this week that risks of a “substantial downturn” have receded.