Spinoff employment in Carson City from the Tesla Motor/Panasonic Energy combination could amount to 300 jobs or more after 2016-17, Nevada’s state demographer said Wednesday.
Jeff Hardcastle spoke at a Carson City Chamber of Commerce Soup’s On luncheon at the Gold Dust West Casino, running through a series of slides showing various possible impacts in the region ranging from job growth to housing due to growth at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center east of Reno and Sparks. He also talked of commuting in the region, noting it is and will be significant.
“It really is a five-county commuting shift,” he said. For example, he said 4,000 people from Douglas County commute into Carson City but some people in Carson City commute there, to Reno and elsewhere in the area. He said the employment increases he projects with the Tesla/Panasonic gigafactory going up, SWITCH another major TRIC player, and other factors will be indirect or ancillary jobs.
Of housing, he indicated there’s still some slack in the regional supply but not necessarily in the rental or purchase price ranges that are affordable for everyone in or coming to the region.
Hardcastle showed a slide that gave a baseline of job growth projections over coming years prior to cranking in Tesla and related effects, as well as the slightly higher expectation after including them. He told the Nevada Appeal afterward the gap in Carson City amounts to perhaps 300 or 500 in additional employment opportunities over coming years.
He also repeated what he had told his Chamber audience: the impact in Douglas County will be even less. In a post-talk question period, he said the USA Parkway into western Lyon County hadn’t been included in his projections and likely wouldn’t be until it’s done. He also told a questioner his projection for Carson City population growth in the next few years remains at 1 percent or lower.
During the talk, Hardcastle gave anecdotal evidence about the fluidity of commuting in this five-county region, which includes Carson City, Douglas, Washoe, Lyon and Storey counties. He said he ran into someone he knew from Reno at a Carson City Starbucks and they chatted about why they were in the state capital. The other person told him it was because a three-day wait to see someone here for health services beat a month-long wait in Reno.
Hardcastle, who’s associated with the state Department of Taxation and the Small Business Development Center, warned demographic gazing into a crystal ball is like weather forecasting, which relies on new information as it comes. He mentioned future scenarios that could make impacts even smaller than he has projected. Among them: a recession or just a slowdown from China’s economy decelerating, perhaps even competition Tesla could face.
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