GOED director: Nevada has made huge economic progress
The head of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development says Nevada has made huge progress since 2011.
“We’ve seen so much improvement it’s hard to pinpoint what are the things that got us in the right direction,” Paul Anderson told the Northern Nevada Development Authority’s annual progress report breakfast meeting at the Carson Nugget. “If you think about it, we were in 2011 at the top of all the wrong lists.”
Things are different now, he said.
“We went from hemorrhaging 186,000 jobs during the recession to gaining back 270,000 jobs,” he said. “We did better than every other state in almost every single category.”
He said GOED and its local and business partners did so by streamlining business processes, removing red tape and barriers to starting a business here.
“What we’ve seen is real diversity taking place,” Anderson said. “We’re seeing double digit growth in the areas we’ve identified as important sectors. Hundreds of new businesses call Nevada home.”
He said now, Nevada’s reputation in economic development isn’t only known nationally but internationally with interest showing from Poland, Spanish Basque country, Japan and Australia among other places.
He said the recovery is translating not only into more businesses and job creation but better jobs with higher pay. He pointed out the average wage was $20.88 a year ago, but has now reached $28.59 an hour.
Anderson said the state has the nation’s fastest growing population but admitted that’s causing some problems, creating a serious housing shortage as well as traffic and infrastructure problems.
“These are good problems to have,” he told the audience of more than 70 people.
NNDA President Rob Hooper said the authority has helped more than 100 expanding or relocating companies come to the four-county Sierra region since 2010. He said that has helped create some 5,000 jobs and bring more than $1.4 billion in economic impact over the past eight years.
Now, he said, they’re getting more selective.
“When we started and were in economic freefall, any job was a good job,” Hooper said.
Now, he said they’re focusing on good jobs with higher wages and companies that have a commitment to the area.
“Economic development is not about what’s in it for me,” he said. “It’s about what’s in it for our kids, our grandkids and our community.”