Thursday, March 31, 2011 | 12:55 p.m.
Three of every five Southern Nevadans are “very concerned” about holding onto a job or finding work while another 29 percent are “somewhat concerned” about one or the other, according to numbers released today by Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis.
Despite those figures, the company’s principal partner, Jeremy Aguero, told an audience of 450 business, political and community leaders gathered for the company’s annual Las Vegas Perspective informational forum that there is a “general belief that the worst of the economy is behind us.”
Aguero pointed to a mix of measurements that he said demonstrate upward trends since the depth of the recession in 2008 and 2009:
• Clark County’s population grew to a record 2.03 million in 2010.
• Ninety percent of those surveyed said their quality of life in Southern Nevada is “good” or “very good.”
• Seventy-nine percent say it is a “good time” to buy a house in Southern Nevada.
Aguero used numbers from an array of sources, including state and local government agencies. The measurement of Nevadans’ attitudes was conducted in January and February via telephone calls to the heads of 500 households in the region. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.
“We’re not suggesting we’re out of the woods, but for the first time all the arrows are up,” he said. “Our nation’s economy is doing better overall.”
Despite Aguero’s optimism, a broad range of measurements continued recent downward trends between 2009 and 2010. They included building permits for housing, sales of existing homes, total homes sales, the median prices for new and existing homes, commercial building permit values, taxable retail sales and passenger volume at McCarran International Airport.
Aguero also noted that record levels of consumer debt and the tens of thousands of homes in some state of foreclosure could contribute to a second recessionary trough both nationally and regionally.
“The one (trend) that scares me more than any other is U.S. government debt,” he told the audience gathered at The Four Seasons Hotel.
Forty-one percent of those surveyed by phone said they expect the Southern Nevada economy will “stay the same” during the next 12 months. Twenty-four percent said they expect it will decline, while 35 percent said it will expand. Seventy-two percent said they expect the Southern Nevada economy will expand during the next five year.
Meantime, 79 percent said this a good time to buy a house within the region. Just 26 percent expect home prices to jump during the next 12 months.