Landscape-related businesses in northern Nevada generate economic impact estimated at $379.7 million a year, finds a new study commissioned by the Nevada Landscape Association.
The study conducted by researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, found the landscape industry employs more than 3,800 people in the region.
Landscape maintenance services accounted for 70 percent of the industry's employment in northern Nevada, said researchers Buddy Borden, an economic development specialist with the cooperative extension service at UNR, and Tom Harris, director of the university's Center for Economic Development.
Golf course landscaping and maintenance in the region accounted for about 14 percent of the total employment, and retail garden centers accounted for 11 percent. Landscape architectural firms and wholesale nurseries accounted for the rest of the employment in northern Nevada.
The industry is dominated by small and young companies, the study found.
About 60 percent of the landscape companies surveyed statewide posted gross revenues of less than $1 million in 2007, the most recent year for which figures were available, and 60 percent of them reported that they employed fewer than 25 workers.
Nearly 55 percent of the companies that were surveyed had been in business 10 years or less, and more than a third had been in business for less than three years.
The study was completed before the worst of the recession hit Nevada businesses.
Annual wages in the industry in 2007 averaged $29,690, the study found. Landscape architectural firms, with average wages of $56,883 a year, and golf course landscape positions, which averaged $32,094, were the top-paying jobs in the field.
Landscape service positions, which account for the lion's share of the industry's employment in northern Nevada, paid wages that averaged $27,688 in 2007.
Even in 2007, before the recession settled in, landscape company operators reported that they were relying on greater numbers of part-time and seasonal employees.
Statewide, the landscape industry's economic impact was estimated at $1.8 billion a year, an increase of 38.5 percent since a similar study was completed in 2002. Employment figures reported in the new study marked a 13.6 percent increase statewide since 2002.
To calculate the total economic impact of the industry, the research team used a model that estimates the amount of business activity that ripples through the economy as the result of spending in the landscaping industry.