More construction workers finding jobs

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's unemployment rate is holding steady this summer. Across the state, July's rate was 7.7 percent, which is the same as last month.

It is also lower than the same time last year, when unemployment was slightly below 10 percent. One of the growing sectors in Clark County is construction.

According to the state's office of employment, in 2013, there were 41,000 thousand construction jobs in Las Vegas and this year about 43,000. That is still less than half of what there used to be when 110,000 construction workers were employed during Sept. 2006 just before the recession hit.

Economists say this is another baby step for Las Vegas, which is still coming out of a struggling economy.

The effort to refurbish the old Sahara Hotel into the new SLS Las Vegas put 1,600 construction workers to work and another 2,000 spent the past two years building the Downtown Summerlin project.

From refurbishing the Strip to building new malls and apartments, construction projects help sustain the growth of our city and give the hundreds of thousands of visitors places to stay.

The director of the Center of Business and Economics Research for UNLV says these crews are doing more commercial building than home building because there is not much land to build on that has the infrastructure for a neighborhood.

"Simply, there are no lots available for builders to start building homes. We're in a phase where you actually have to develop the land to make it suitable to start building homes," economics professor at UNLV Stephen Brown said.

The Nevada Contractors Association says more than half of the workers that are now employed have jobs thanks to the gas tax that was approved last year.

That tax increase has paid for 1,300 construction jobs for road projects around the Las Vegas valley.


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