UNLV analyst: Southern Nevada won’t fully recover until 2017

Tourists pose in front of the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign Tuesday, March 6, 2012.

Southern Nevada’s economy is continuing its slow crawl out of the recession, UNLV analysts said Wednesday, with tourism and gaming leading the way and real estate and unemployment continuing to be a drag on sustained growth.

Stephen Brown, director of UNLV’s Center for Business & Economic Research, said at a midyear economic outlook presentation that the economy wouldn't return to its full potential until 2017, giving credence to those who theorized that the Great Recession would be a lost decade.

Brown told the 200 attendees at the presentation that, while visitor volume in Southern Nevada could reach a record high in 2012, the region was still being dragged down by the 11.6 percent jobless rate and a construction industry that cratered to a level deeper than anyone had envisioned.

He also said the state having the nation’s highest percentage of underwater homes and near-negative equity mortgages stood in the way significant economic improvement.

“Our construction index is low by historic standards,” Brown said. “There’s evidence that it’s coming off the bottom, but it’s a really deep bottom.”

Brown’s hour-long presentation, held at the Venetian, was framed around effects of the world economy, U.S. economic conditions and details about why Southern Nevada has been so slow to recover. Following the presentation, a panel of economic experts drilled further into specific regional issues confronting sustained growth for the area.



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  1. We shouldn't be talking about new construction until the homes and business' in Las Vegas are managed and filled. Too many out of work and without homes. I realize the construction industry is in bad shape but that doesn't make it OK for the state to start trying to build anything new. That is called throwing good money after bad.
    These desperate times call for new methods. What we have been doing has not been working and we need to change it. But the conservative nature of our states 'higher ups' don't allow forward or free thinking ideas to prosper. Change is the only option and it is the only one they refuse to look at. The casino/tourism people only want to see gaming and tourism up. They cannot see past the end of their very red noses. We need to help our people here. The ones that work in the casinos and showrooms and restaurants are unable to afford to stay in the industry without something being given up. We suck terribly at taking care of the locals while we give the world away for a dollar and a comp.