For nearly two years, RCG Economics has plotted job and population growth in northwestern Nevada. The numbers reflect the region’s robust economy.
With occasional jumps and dips, the red lines tracking real numbers closely follow predictions made by the EPIC Report released on Sept. 1, 2015.
More formally called the Northern Nevada Regional Growth Forecast, the report was developed by RCG Economics LLC, under contract to the Economic Planning Indicator Committee (EPIC) with the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) as a central contributor and distributor.
The EPIC Report actually describes three main scenarios of growth from low job growth of 47,400 in the five-year period from 2015 to 2020, to a high of 56,600 new jobs.
Scenario B, considered the most likely scenario, is in the middle with 52,400 jobs expected. Scenario B is also the graph line the real numbers seem to be tracking (see graphs, this page).
The population growth forecast is similar, with an additional forecast for exceptionally high growth rate.
Scenario B predicts a population growth of 42,400 for the five-year period. Scenario B2 predicts a substantially higher population growth in the region of 64,700.
The report explains that Scenario B2 assumes that the economic growth and development will require a greater number of people moving into the area to fill jobs. It also assumes there could be an insufficient supply of skilled workers available to fill some of the new positions that will be created with an influx of technology companies.
So far, the region has escaped the B2 scenario.
“Existing community members have definitely taken most of the jobs that have been filled in the last year, as we suspected would happen. The B2 scenario was unlikely to begin with,” John Restrepo, consultant and principal with RCG Economics, and Hubert Hensen, economic analyst with RCG, said in an email response to questions from the NNBW.
On the other hand, they said, real population numbers won’t be available possibly for another year. The population estimates in the EPIC chart are postulated from the previous years’ population-to-jobs rations.
“So in short, we haven’t seen a big population spike because most jobs were taken by locals; and even if there were a spike, we wouldn’t know for at least another year, if not another 2–3 years,” they said.
Even before its release, the EPIC report had been cited for months for is predictions of robust economic growth that would also spur the need for more housing, additional schools, better roads and improved infrastructure all around.
With Tesla and Switch, two of the biggest most prestigious companies to move to the area recently, yet to be fully operational, there’s speculation that the B2 Scenario could still come into play.
That’s unlikely, according to Restrepo and Hensen.
“Furthermore, based on the employment data and what we know about the new jobs at Tesla, the vast majority of new jobs are likely low- to mid-skill level. There wouldn’t be much difficulty in filling these positions with the existing area workforce,” they wrote. “Even if all the high-skill engineering and technical jobs were filled by people coming from out of town, they would be unlikely to cause a noticeable bump in in-migration over the short-term because there are too few of these jobs.
“That aside, we don’t have data yet on what kind of jobs are being created exactly. That level of data lags by about a year, and even then has a high level of uncertainty for a community the size of Reno (large standard errors in those estimates).”
With more that three years jobs and population data ahead of us, much can change.
For more information about the EPIC report, as well as to read the actual report, go to: http://edawn.org/epic-report/.