The state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 6.2 percent in January, down from 7.1 percent a year ago and its lowest level since mid-2008. Construction, one of the hardest hit sectors in the recession, is leading the state's growth of jobs.
Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith commented during the Nevada-based casino company's earnings call last month about how construction activity is accelerating, with more than $10 billion in projects currently in various stages of development across the Las Vegas Valley. "This is driving strong growth in construction employment, which increased more than 14 percent last year. And the local economy is benefiting from record visitation," he said.
During the dark days of the downturn, Boyd put the brakes on a multibillion-dollar development on the north end of the Strip called Echelon, and in 2013 sold the unfinished site for $350 million to Malaysia-based Genting Group. Today, Genting's Resorts World Las Vegas — a $4 billion project — is the largest development in Vegas since CityCenter's opening in 2009. The Chinese-themed resort could open as early as 2018 and its website said the property, when in operation, will create over 13,000 direct and indirect jobs.
"We lost 70,000 jobs and most of those were construction workers, and hotel and casino," said Dallas Haun, CEO of Nevada State Bank, a unit of Zions Bancorporation. "That's why the Tesla thing is so important, Switch Communications, and Faraday. Nevada is trying to diversify job creation and diversify the economy."
In December, Faraday Future, an electric vehicle manufacturing start-up, announced plans to build a billion dollar manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas. The Chinese-backed company also said once the facility is up and running it will have 4,500 new jobs. Switch Communications, a big-data storage company, also has been expanding in Nevada. Meanwhile, Tesla is building a giant "Gigafactory" east of Reno to make lithium ion batteries and is getting about $1.3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives from the state. When the factory is at full capacity it is expected to employ an estimated 7,000 workers.
Since the 2010 recessionary low, 6,436 private firms and 140,200 jobs have been added to Nevada's economy, according to Bob Potts, research director for the Governor's Office of Economic Development. Cannon Safe, a residential security products company, is one of the companies recruited to Nevada. Previously, Cannon was based in Southern California.