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Reno Reshapes its Economic Future

Posted by Jeff Sallan on Monday, October 26th, 2015 at 11:00am.

Our region and economy were featured by the Wall Street Journal on Friday. Below are a few of the highlights from the article by Jim Carlton of the WSJ.

“For much of the past half century, Reno moved in lock step with its glamorous big sister, Las Vegas, their fortunes rising and falling with their mainstay industry, gambling.

Since 2011, the “Biggest Little City in the World” has recruited about 100 companies to locate or expand here with more than 10,000 new jobs—many cajoled by a former West Point cadet who instilled military discipline into Reno’s economic-development office.

wsjgraph

There are signs Reno’s strategy is starting to pay off. Before Nevada’s top two metro areas went into recession in 2008, both had unemployment rates below 4%. While the jobless rate in both soared to 14% in 2011, Reno’s has fallen to 6.1%, as of August, vs. 7% for Las Vegas, according to Labor Department estimates.

One reason is that Reno— just outside of California along the major cross-country corridor of Interstate 80—has experienced 14.7% growth in manufacturing employment over the past five years, compared with just 4.8% for Las Vegas, according to state data.

Among new arrivals are at least nine drone manufacturers, with 400 announced jobs among them. The University of Nevada, Reno has become a partner on R&D with one, Australian drone startup Flirtey Inc. “The main reason we moved there was the spirit of the place,” says company Chief Executive Matt Sweeny. “It was a small town with a big ambition.”

When the deal was announced last Sept. 4, 2014, at Carson City’s 1871 capitol building, Tesla CEO Elon Musk referenced Nevada’s regulatory environment. “It’s a real get-things-done state,” he said.

Since then, Reno’s growth has kicked into even higher gear. In January, Switch Communications Group said it was expanding from Las Vegas to build a $1 billion data center at the Reno industrial park with up to 2,000 more jobs.”

You can read the full WSJ story here.

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