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Nevada Development Agencies Set To Unveil Strategies For 2018


Nevada’s top economic development officials are set to unveil their plans for 2018 during events this week at both ends of the state.

Business forums in Reno and Las Vegas will hear from the economic development agencies serving the state’s two big metro areas.

The separate events come at a time when Nevada enjoys  robust job growth, an  influx of young people, and strong housing markets.

Jonas Peterson with the Las Vegas Economic Global Alliance told KNPR's State of Nevada that "big things are happening" in the state of Nevada but the growth is much healthier than it was before the Great Recession.

"People are moving to Southern Nevada primarily because of new jobs that means incomes are attached to that population growth," he said.

Peterson said that while home prices are rising rapidly the prices are related to incomes, which keep the housing market in the "safe zone where those home values can be supported going forward."

He also said Nevada has been recognized as a state with a lot of untapped potential.

"In Nevada, not only is it the fastest jobs producing state, if you look at the rankings for untapped growth potential publications like Business Facilities will say we're not done yet. We still have a long way to go in terms of growing our market going forward," he said.

But to make sure it is stable, the growth has to be supported by jobs and is the economy diversified.

The new person leading the charge for diversification of Nevada's economy is former Assemblyman Paul Anderson. He talked with KNPR's State of Nevada on the first day of his new job as the head of the Governor's Office on Economic Development. 

He took over for Steve Hill who took a position with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority. Anderson said Nevada has momentum going and he wants to make sure private sector businesses continue to grow at phenomenal levels.

However, Nevada is competing with other states for those private businesses. 

"We have a very low tax burden in our state that is part of the attractiveness of being here in the state, but it's not enough," Anderson said, "You have other states that have very deep pockets. They have the ability to lure companies in very different ways."

He said Nevada needs to be in the game of trying to lure companies here because "if we're not in the game, we simply forfeit."

The Reno/Sparks area has been a prime example of Nevada's ability to lure important new companies to the state. The area is home to Tesla's gigafactory thanks in part to a package of state tax incentives. 

The jobs market in the Reno area is booming. New businesses have been moving in but that has led to a housing crunch. 

Mike Kazmierski with the Economic Development Agency of Western Nevada, also known as EDAWN, said Reno is trying to address the problem and is looking to do more in-fill housing, which means building the city's urban core, instead of creating more suburban sprawl.

"Every city in the nation faces affordable housing challenges," he said, "We've got to build  more density... it takes pressure off the traffic, it helps us 'grow up' if you will, it relieves urban sprawl and we've basically got to adjust our mindset."

Kazmierski said housing is certainly the top challenge for the region, but there are other challenges.

"We're in a growth mode. We've run out of people," he said, "We've gone from 14 percent unemployment to below 4 percent. We continue to see robust job activity. We brought in 29 new companies last year and we've got to fill those positions."

At separate events, Southern Nevada’s Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, which serves Reno, will make their case for their development strategies.

The events are:

  • On Tuesday in Las Vegas, LVGEA is putting on its State of Economic Development breakfast. Among the speakers will be former Assemblyman Paul Anderson, who starts this week as head of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
  • On Thursday in Reno, Alliance, a regional business expo put on by the Reno, Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, and EDAWN.


Mike Kazmierski, Economic Development Agency of Western Nevada; Paul Anderson, Governor's Office of Economic Development; Jonas Peterson, Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance 

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.