by Rich Robledo, Las Vegas Sun, July 30, 2022
I often hear of a rivalry between Northern and Southern Nevada. The two parts of the state are so different, I don’t see why either should be “jealous” of the other.
That said, though, I am a bit jealous of how well Northern Nevada recovered from the 2020 lockdowns. While Clark County’s unemployment rate continues to linger around 5%, Reno/Sparks has been around 2.9% for months. In fact, every northern county is at 3% or less, while only Nye and Clark continue to hover around 5%.
How did Northern Nevada recover better than the south? One word: Diversification.
While Southern Nevada’s economy continues to be heavily based on tourism and hospitality, the North has focused on attracting sectors like technology, manufacturing and logistics.
Now don’t get me wrong, Southern Nevada still drives the state’s economy, and no city can match our outstanding casinos, events and night life. But when your economy is so heavily based on tourists, it is very susceptible to downturns in the economy.
That is why I’m supportive of expanding manufacturing and technology in the Las Vegas Valley. I’m thrilled to see that Haas Automation, the largest machine tool maker in the United States, plans to invest $100 million to build out 2.3 million square feet of new space in Henderson. The company is creating 500 new jobs at this facility. This is exactly the kind of company that we should be attracting to Southern Nevada.
We have seen how sectors like manufacturing are significantly affecting Nevada’s economy. In a 2017 study by the National Association of Employers, manufacturing jobs in Nevada saw double-digit wage growth since the 2010 recession. Manufacturing jobs grew from 20,428 in 2010 to 26,140 in 2020, with an average pay of $72,881 a year, according to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Nevada’s Economic Development office has identified aerospace, information technology, manufacturing and logistics as sectors we should recruit to Nevada to help diversify our economy. Many of these industries benefited from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. That one bill was like rocket fuel specifically for the manufacturing sector, which has been expanding across the U.S. like never before.
In 2018 alone, manufacturers created 263,000 jobs — the best year for job creation in two decades. Manufacturers were also able to increase wages and benefits, and invest in their communities.
That is why I’m concerned that at a time when Nevada is spending a lot of energy to attract businesses like manufacturing, Congress is thinking about reversing some of these tax cuts that has helped them grow and create new jobs.
I read that Congress is considering increasing the corporate income tax rate, eliminating deductions for certain pass-through business income, and other tax increases that will dramatically affect sectors like manufacturing.
Nevada businesses are still struggling to recover from the 2020 lockdowns. Supply chain disruptions, inflation and labor shortage issues are making it even harder for businesses to remain open, let alone create new jobs. If we undo the critical 2017 tax reforms now, our economic recovery is at stake.
Manufacturing is a critical sector that is needed to diversify our economy and protect us from an economic downturn. I urge our senators to maintain the tax reform that is helping keep Nevada on the right track.
Rich Robledo is broker and owner of Acclaim Real Estate.