Nevada could hit pre-recession job numbers by 2017

Dec 24, 2014

Nevada's Chief Economist Bill Anderson says the state is gaining jobs in all sectors, including one of its hardest hit--construction.

The number of jobs in Nevada could return to pre-recession levels by the end of 2017. That's the latest prediction from the state's chief economist Bill Anderson. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

During the recession, Nevada lost 175,000 of its nearly 1.3 million jobs. Bill Anderson, chief economist for the state's Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation, says Nevada has been slowly rebuilding its labor force over the past four years.

"Right now, we're on pace to have added back about 100,000 or so jobs by the end of this year," Anderson explains, "and we think about two years down the road, we should be able to make up the rest of the ground that we lost."
 
Anderson recently released his forecast, which factors in the ripple effects of major economic developments like Tesla's massive gigafactory. Along with big gains he expects in manufacturing and construction, Anderson says almost every sector is winning jobs lately, with healthcare and retail trade becoming key players as well. Mining is the lone exception because of falling gold prices.

Diversifying it's economy is a relatively new path for Nevada, since, historically, the state has put most of its eggs into two baskets--hospitality and construction.

"In light of what happened in the last recession, that proved to be unsustainable," Anderson says, "so going forward, we're looking at more diversified growth, more modest growth that we think will allow Nevada to better weather future downturns."

Peaking at nearly 14 percent in 2010, Nevada's unemployment rate has been sliced in half and now stands at 6.9 percent.