Reno Gazette Journal
Job growth and a manufacturing boom propelled Reno to the No. 11 spot while Las Vegas was ranked 23rd in an annual report that rated the best-performing cities in the nation.
The greater Reno-Sparks metro area just missed the top 10 in the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities of 2018 list. Although it was beaten by Salt Lake City for 10th place, the ranking represents a big improvement for the Biggest Little City, which was ranked 37th overall during the previous year.
New jobs helped propel Reno in the rankings, which led the nation for its job growth rate in the report. The metro area also ranked 10th in the nation for wage growth. The ranking is a marked improvement from its No. 52 spot for wage growth from 2011 to 2016. Increasing wages is a top priority for Reno-Sparks, which has seen a steep increase in the cost of housing in the last few years.
“Job growth from 2016 to 2017 exceeded that of every metro in our large cities ranking, giving it the first spot in that category,” the report said about Reno. “The metro’s manufacturing industry accounts for most of the growth in the area, as it drew in new workers who increased demand for services and housing.”
Advantages for the Reno metro include continued growth in manufacturing, which is also expected to boost wages, the Milken Institute said. The region’s construction industry, which was hit hard during the recession, also has ample jobs due to increased demand for new buildings.
The report cited housing as the area’s biggest liability. In addition to a shortage of houses stifling migration to the area, Reno-Sparks also lacks homegrown manufacturing talent, the Milken Institute found. The area also ranked lower for its number of high-tech industries.
Here is how the Reno metro ranked in nine categories tracked by the report:
- Job growth (2012-2017): 9th
- Job growth (2016-2017): 1st
- Wage growth (2011-2016): 52nd
- Wage growth (2015-2016): 10th
- Short-term job growth (2017-2018): 9th
- High-tech GDP growth (2012-2017): 31st
- High-tech GDP growth (2016-2017): 19th
- High-tech GDP concentration (2017): 136th
- No. of high-tech industries (2017): 112th
The greater Las Vegas area, which includes Henderson and Paradise, also gained 18 spots in the list to reach the 23rd spot. Southern Nevada’s tourism sector especially benefited from a strong national economy.
“In addition to experiencing strong job gains over all three periods evaluated, the region has solid performance in our one-year wage growth measure,” the report found.
Las Vegas’ low-cost business environment has also helped it lure other sectors such as logistics to its region, the Milken Institute said. The metro area’s higher dependence on tourism and construction, however, makes it more susceptible to economic downturns.
“In addition, only about one-fourth of the region’s population has a college or graduate degree, lower than the national average of 31 percent,” according to the report. “The region needs to further diversify its industries and cultivate its talent pool in order to build a healthier economy.”
Source: Reno Gazette Journal
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