Las Vegas Wage Growth Strong, But Other Indicators Lagging

Posted on by & filed under Nevada by the Numbers Blog.

First, the good news: According to the latest release by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Clark County saw wage growth of 12.2% between September 2015 and September 2016. This was the highest increase of any of the 344 largest counties for which BLS compiled statistics. The average wage increase for the United States over the same period was 5.4%.

An average weekly wage gain of $151 (24.0%) in leisure and hospitality made the largest contribution to the county’s increase in average weekly wages. Clark County also posted the eighth highest nominal increase in weekly wages at $103, almost twice the national average. Finally, the county had the sixth highest raw employment gains between the 3rd quarters of 2015 and 2016, adding 34,100 jobs.

However, some additional context should temper that enthusiasm. As we noted in our piece in the NV Indy last month, Nevadans are actually bringing home 10% less than they were a decade ago, once adjusted for inflation. And while the first of these maps from Brookings shows we’re in the top quintile for composite growth among the largest 100 metro areas between 2010 and 2015…

…the next shows that we’re in the bottom quintile in “prosperity” – defined by factors like average wages and productivity:

In fact, the folks at Alphaville have crunched the numbers and determined that, given our population growth, our state’s economic output is a staggering 21 percent below its 2006 peak.

We may be the equivalent of Greece in the Eurozone – permanently scarred economically by the Great Recession. Put another way, we need to top these BLS lists for a while in order to truly recover.