Las Vegas ranks third among large metros while Nevada is second among states, according to an analysis that looked at federal data.
by Jason Hidalgo Reno Gazette Journal October 26, 2021
Reno ranked among the top mid-sized cities in the United States for higher-income worker growth, a number that has more than doubled over a five-year period.
A surge in its number of six-figure income earners propelled Reno to 14th in the nation among medium-size metros, according to an analysis by rental property software company Stessa.
Reno had 12,050 jobs earning $100,000 or more in 2020, according to the analysis, which used data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The number represents a nearly 144% increase from 2015, when the metro area had only 4,940 six-figure jobs.
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Down in the southern part of the state, Las Vegas ranked third for large cities with an increase of more than 216%. Nevada also ranked No. 2 among all states, posting a growth rate of 233.2% with 61,440 six-figure income jobs. Nationwide, cities, on average, saw 110% growth in higher-income jobs — the highest seen since the Great Recession, according to Stessa. The analysis looked at more than 320 metro areas across the country.
The latest increase also occurs amid hiring difficulties during the pandemic, a phenomenon that has since been called the Great Resignation.
“One of the COVID-19 pandemic’s most significant long-term effects on the economy could be rising wages,” the analysis said. “With widespread shortages in the labor market reported this summer, many employers — particularly those with lower-wage employees — have tried to entice workers with improved compensation and benefits.”
Reno’s growth in high-income earners, however, goes beyond just the pandemic, said Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
Kazmierski also pointed to the strong job growth seen in the area since the end of the recession, which has seen not just big companies such as Tesla but also small and medium-size companies either relocating or expanding to the area.
“The influx of corporate headquarters and talent brings with it many high-paying jobs,” Kazmierski said. “Add to this the migration out of California to Reno-Sparks for high-wealth individuals getting hammered by the high and increasing California taxes.”
The analysis did not specifically indicate what jobs are driving the numbers in Reno. Nationwide, however, careers that are driving the increase in higher-income wage earners include general managers, tech workers, lawyers, finance and medical work.
While hiring difficulties since COVID-19 are driving income growth among lower-paying jobs, the recent increases still are not enough to narrow the wage gap seen over the past few decades. Income earners within the bottom 10% of the pay scale saw incomes increase by only 3.3% over the past 40 years when adjusted for inflation, according to a separate analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. Meanwhile, middle-income earners saw a 15.1% increase while higher-income earners saw earnings jump by 63.2%.
The influx of higher-income earners has also been cited for record-high median home sales prices in Reno-Sparks. The combined median for both cities reached $530,000 this year, with Reno going as high as $554,000.
Reno-Sparks rents also posted new records for six quarters in a row, reaching a high of $1,632 in the third quarter of this year, according to real estate appraisal and consulting firm Johnson Perkins Griffin. The single-family and rental housing markets, however, are also starting to show signs of stabilization.
Here are the top 15 mid-size metro areas for higher-income earner growth, according to the Stessa analysis:
- Lansing, Michigan: 326.5%
- Lafayette, Louisiana: 320%
- Honolulu, Hawaii: 308.5%
- Santa Rosa, California: 212.3%
- Chattanooga, Tennessee: 211.1%
- Killeen-Temple, Texas: 174.7%
- Madison, Wisconsin: 159.4%
- Charleston-North Charleston, South Carolina: 157.4%
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York: 156.4%
- Portland, Maine: 153.8%
- Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa: 150.3%
- Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia: 149.4%
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: 148.8%
- Reno, Nevada: 143.9%
- Salem, Oregon: 142.2%