LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Most local experts say 2019 has the strong potential to pick up where 2018 left off for the local economy, especially in two sectors that have historically led the charge.
"We think with the stadium and new construction with certain hotels," said Mike PeQueen of Hightower Financial, "the construction jobs are gonna look pretty strong for 2019, as will the hospitality industry." He added, "We just have to watch out past 2019 for interest rates to get another half point, another full point higher."
With unemployment locally and statewide at 4.4%, PeQueen believes people have reason to feel pretty good about 2019, and remain confident in the Southern Nevada economy. "If gas prices are low, which they are, and employment is strong, then consumer confidence is high and we see that right now in Southern Nevada."
Diane Grosboll, a local housing lender, agrees. "Everybody seems to be doing much better. I think there are more people getting more job opportunities that they didn't have prior." She said.
But, there are still areas of concern. "What we haven't seen is a lot of wage growth," PeQueen said. "That's another place where people begin to feel it. Wages have gone up but not as much as inflation, so when you look back a dozen years, wages have gone up but when you put inflation into the mix, they've just tried to keep up with inflation."
PeQueen does offer something to make most Southern Nevadans feel good about the general direction of the economy in recent years. He said most people can recall it's only been a decade since the jobless rate in Las Vegas was in the mid-teens, and while a recession might be out there in the not-too-distant future, PeQueen believes 2019 is going to be another good year.