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Gaming Guru

Hubble Smith

Las Vegas Businesses Report They're Planning to Add Jobs

16 June 2004

Las Vegas area employers expect to hire at a healthy pace during the third quarter, with 30 percent of them saying they plan to increase their work force, a local employment firm reported Tuesday.

Sixty-three percent expect to maintain their current staffing levels and 7 percent are not certain about hiring plans, Manpower's Employment Outlook Survey shows.

None of the employers said they would decrease staff.

Local employers are more optimistic about hiring than they were for the second quarter, when 20 percent predicted an increase in hiring activity and 3 percent were planning decreases, said Dawn Hathaway Thoman, vice president for Manpower.

A year ago, 17 percent of employers intended to hire more workers and 3 percent said they would cut back on staff.

Job prospects for the third quarter appear to be best in construction, durable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, education and services, Manpower reported.

Hiring in nondurables, transportation and utilities, and finance, insurance and real estate is not expected to change.

The fastest-growing industry in Clark County is construction, which grew by 11.8 percent from a year ago, said Mary Riddel, economist with the Center for Business and Economic Research.

Other growing industries are professional and business services (6.7 percent), other services (6.1 percent), education and health (5.7 percent), financial (5.2 percent) and manufacturing (4.5 percent).

"It's the first time manufacturing makes the fastest-growing industries at 4.5 percent," Riddel said. "It's a very small sector, but it's growing."

While the loss of manufacturing jobs hurt much of the nation's heartland, it didn't really affect Las Vegas' tourism-based economy, she said.

However, the outsourcing of information jobs such as call centers led to a 0.2 percent decline in the industry's local work force.

Casinos, hotels and gaming, by far the major employer in Southern Nevada, directly and indirectly, grew employment by 0.8 percent.

Overall, Nevada leads the Western states in job growth at 4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. That's more than twice the rate of second-place Arizona (1.9 percent).

Jim Shabi, economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said the state added 9,700 jobs in March, including 2,600 in the construction industry.

Las Vegas has recorded eight consecutive months with job growth of 4 percent or more from the year-ago month, he said.

The Western Blue Chip Economic Forecast shows Nevada with 3.6 percent job growth this year and 3.8 percent growth in 2005.

National results of the Manpower survey reveal that U.S. employers continue to show optimism in their hiring plans moving into the third quarter. Of the 16,000 surveyed, 30 percent expect to add to their payrolls, while 6 percent predict a decline in staff levels. Fifty-nine percent foresee no change in job prospects and 5 percent are unsure of their hiring expectations.