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September 20, 2014

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Economist: Recovery will be ‘choppy,’ not steady

The economic recovery will be based on industrial sectors, not regions or cities, a City National Bank economist said.

“It’s finance, not physics,” said Rich Weiss, chief investment officer for the private bank who was in Las Vegas on Dec. 1 to speak to United Way Touqueville donors. “There’s no straight lines or angles. It’s much more choppy, and there could be more setbacks.”

Like other economists, Weiss said he thinks a recovery will come in spurts rather than steady growth.

The dollar’s 10 percent to 15 percent decline over the past year could benefit Las Vegas’ tourism industry as international travelers take advantage of favorable exchange rates. Also U.S. travelers are electing to vacation close to home, he said.

“Las Vegas is on sale,” Weiss said. “It’s a proverbial double whammy in our favor.”

Many signs are already pointing to a national recovery, including improvement in international trade and manufacturing and the increased flow of money.

“The last piece of the puzzle is the consumer,” he said, adding that early indicators for the holiday shopping season are positive.

CityCenter is also expected to have a positive effect, but Las Vegas can’t depend solely on the MGM Mirage-Dubai World project to pull it out of the recession.

Add to that a housing inventory that is bogging down the real estate market, and Las Vegas has its work cut out.

“The fact is, Las Vegas will take a longer time to wind through,” he said. “There’s no quick fix for what ails cities like Las Vegas. There’s no magic pill unless that’s what Vdara (a CityCenter hotel) means.”

Technically, the nation is already in recovery mode, but “unfortunately, it’s not being felt by most of us,” he said.

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