The latest employment estimates in Southern Nevada suggest the economy is expanding and remains one of the fastest growing communities in the country. In September 2017, total employment in the Las Vegas metropolitan area reached a record high of 983,500, which represented an increase of 2.4 percent when compared to the prior year. A wide range of industries contributed to the overall job increase of 23,400 during the past 12 months.
Construction continues to be a key contributor,
adding 10,100 new positions during the past year. Importantly, the professional and business services sector added 5,100 jobs, reflecting a growth rate of 3.7 percent. Other key areas of expansion included education and health services (+4.2 percent), financial activities (+3.1 percent) and other service sectors (+2.8 percent). While the leisure and hospitality sector remains a critical component of the economy, it contributed 2,300 new employees during the same time frame.
The latest job growth resulted in a declining unemployment rate that reached 5.2 percent. A tighter labor market is also contributing to rising wages and increased productivity. Average weekly wages in the private sector rose 5.5 percent in September when compared to the prior year. Wage growth more than doubled the pace at the national level. At the same time, average weekly hours worked edged up to 33.9, an increase of 1.5 percent. The overall job market is well positioned and reflects its strongest performance in a decade. We will continue to monitor the economy’s performance going forward, but similar gains are expected to persist through the balance of 2017.