Perhaps more than any other region in the country, Southern Nevada was devastated by the Great Recession. The region went from having some of the lowest rates of unemployment to the highest. Tens of thousands of families lost their homes as jobs dried up, credit tightened, and the regional economy shrank. In response to the crisis, the passage of AB449 in 2011 laid the groundwork for reforming the state’s economic development structure. Among other things, the bill required a reevaluation of the state’s three regional economic development authorities, including the organization serving the Las Vegas region.
To guide the region’s economic diversification efforts, community leaders engaged TIP Strategies to prepare a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Clark County. The CEDS was the direct result of a thorough assessment of the regional economy and our review and prioritization of the industry opportunities identified for the region as part of the Brookings Institution’s 2011 study, Unify | Regionalize | Diversify: An Economic Development Agenda for Nevada. The resulting document represents a collaborative effort between the newly formed Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA) and over 300 stakeholders in Southern Nevada. In conjunction with the CEDS planning process, TIP also prepared a series of recommendations for the City of Las Vegas.
The CEDS will guide decisions made by the LVGEA as it sets about the task of diversifying Southern Nevada’s economy and laying the foundations for long-term economic stability. Major themes of the plan include strengthening the regional business climate, fostering entrepreneurship, and strengthening the region’s workforce and education system in order to develop, attract, and retain talent. Recommendations for the City of Las Vegas focus on leveraging the Downtown Project – a $350 million investment in downtown Las Vegas funded by Zappos founder, Tony Hsieh – and creating a more aggressive business recruitment and retention program.