Brookings: Las Vegas Home Prices Up, Job Growth Slow

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas registered the 62nd strongest economic recovery among the nation's largest metropolitan areas in the third quarter of the year, a modest improvement from its 77th place ranking the prior quarter, according to a Brookings Institution report released Wednesday.

Among the nation's 100 largest metros, Las Vegas ranked 26th in home price recovery with prices 1.9 percent higher than in the second quarter of 2012. Las Vegas also ranked 33rd in unemployment recovery, with a 2.6 percentage point drop in its jobless race since its worst period in the fourth quarter of 2010.

But Las Vegas ranked only 83rd in gross output -- the value of goods and services produced -- with a mere 3.6 percent improvement from its low point in the third quarter of 2009. Las Vegas also ranked only 86th in employment growth, with a 1.5 percent increase in jobs since its low point in the final quarter of 2010.

The Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington, D.C., reported in its "Metro Monitor" that Las Vegas experienced its strongest job growth in the third quarter in education, where employment rose 8 percent over the prior quarter. That was followed by gains in mining (up 7.9 percent), health services (up 1.5 percent), real estate, rental and leasing jobs (up 1.3 percent), and professional and business services (up one-half of 1 percent).

A companion "Mountain Monitor" published by Brookings Mountain West, a collaboration of the think tank and UNLV, reported that employment flat-lined in Las Vegas in the third quarter. That means the metro area still lags "far behind both regionally and nationally" in job recovery, Brookings reported.

Las Vegas, along with Colorado Springs, Colo., remain the only two metros in the Intermountain West with unemployment rates that exceeded the national large metro average of 8 percent in September. Brookings defines the Intermountain West as including the states of Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico and Utah.

Brookings senior fellow and policy director Mark Muro and Brookings policy analyst Kenan Fikri stated: "The major metropolitan areas of the Intermountain West finally put the housing bust behind them in the third quarter of 2012 and in most places made solid progress. House prices rose in all 10 major metropolitan markets in the months from June to September for the first time since the recession began.

"Likewise, output growth accelerated and the unemployment rate continued to fall. Unfortunately none of this prevented the region's already feeble jobs recovery from slowing."


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