Henderson Chamber’s economic outlook event offers promising news

STEM jobs, industrial real estate in Henderson on the rise; economy in recovery

HENDERSON, Nev. – A packed room of Henderson Chamber of Commerce board members and tiered sponsors gathered Feb. 19 to hear some unexpectedly welcome news about the state of the global, national and local economies from Mike PeQueen, managing director and partner of Hightower Las Vegas, and John Restrepo, principal at RCG Economics.

PeQueen and Restrepo are authors of “The Stat Pack.” Dubbed “InSight 2015,” the invitation-only private briefing took place at the Lux on the top floor of the M Resort.

The high-level presentation confirmed what many business and community leaders have been intuitively feeling for a year or more, that Southern Nevada is heading in the right direction and there are plenty of reasons for optimism. Starting on an international scale, PeQueen told the attentive audience that, while the global economy is slowing, the U.S. economic recovery is accelerating. Even China’s real GDP growth, an economic dynamo for much of the last two decades, has been trending down since 2010.

In contrast, in the United States, key national economic indices such as employment growth, consumer confidence and home values are all on the rise, due in large part to a dramatic increase in crude oil production over the last five years, which has translated into lower gas prices for consumers and more visitors for Las Vegas. Describing Southern Nevada as “the ultimate discretionary purchase,” PeQueen passed the microphone to Restrepo, who drilled down to focus on the local view.

Beginning with a comparison of all 11 Nevada recessions since 1948, Restrepo used a powerful graph to show how quickly the state recovered from all but the latest downturn, which finally began a slow but steady growth in employment since bottoming out after 39 months. In addition, he reported that taxable sales are continuing to drive the Las Vegas economy and are now nearing an all-time high, thanks principally to visitor volume at its highest levels in the last decade, with 3.43 million as of December (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority).

And the good news continues with robust employment numbers. In 2013 — the most recent information available — Nevada jobs “bounced back big” with a 3.4 percent growth rate in a single year, positioning Nevada in the No. 2 spot for employment growth nationwide.

In Henderson, although science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs are dominated by registered nurses and other computer-related fields, other industries are experiencing growth as well.

Computer and mathematical occupations lead the way followed by education, training and library; life, physical and social science; health care support, health care practitioners and technical occupations with the most growth.

Henderson residents earn an average of $63,796 annually in comparison to an average of $53,528 by Las Vegas metropolitan area residents and $44,888, the national average, as reported by the Social Security Administration.

Henderson is also one of the safest cities in America. According to FBI crime data, Henderson in 2012 was identified as the country’s fifth safest city.

Overall, commercial real estate in the city also is in a recovery. While industrial real estate, led by the warehouse/distribution industry, is experiencing success, there is still much opportunity for growth in office space and retail occupancy.

It all adds up to a rosier economic picture, as the chamber’s invited guests left to spread the word. Summing up, Restrepo said, “Even though it’s still a bit wobbly, the recovery will continue to take hold in 2015.”

Said Scott Muelrath, Henderson Chamber president and CEO, “Once a year, the Henderson Chamber hosts an exclusive event for our tiered sponsors and board of directors to provide them with an economic forecast that will assist them in their business planning. These events are also excellent opportunities for VIP networking, which is beneficial to these members. I believe that this year’s event proved to be quite informative for all who attended. Personally, I walked away feeling very optimistic about Henderson’s economic future and growth potential.”

The Henderson Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit, professional organization committed to promoting and supporting member businesses.

For more information about the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, call 702-565-8951 or visit hendersonchamber.com.