Washoe County Wages and Employment

Center for Regional Studies (CRS) at the University of Nevada, Reno recently released an update of employment and wage information for the Reno-Sparks MSA and Washoe County (the difference between Reno-Sparks MSA and Washoe County is that the MSA includes both Washoe and Storey counties).

A graph summarizing employment data for the Reno-Sparks MSA is shown below. Due to seasonal fluctuations in monthly employment data, it is important to compare employment for the same month over multiple years.  As December typically has the highest levels of employment, the below graph emphasizes results for December months across the study period (2006 to 2014).  The highest level of December employment was in 2006 at 228,100 employees.  December employment fell by over 36,000 jobs to its lowest point in 2011 (191,500).  The MSA reached the highest level of December employment since the recession of 204,800 in 2014, gaining over 13,000 jobs between 2011 and 2014.  While we are still approximately 23,000 jobs below the December 2006 level, this trend is encouraging.  As of June 2015, year to date average employment increased by 4,700 jobs (2.4%) over the same period in 2014.

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In terms of income and wages, CRS reported data for Washoe County on an annual basis between 2006 and 2014.  The below graph shows countywide median household income peaked at $57,392 in 2008, before declining to $49,026 in 2012.  Median household income is estimated for 2014 at $54,727, an 11.6 percent increase over 2012 levels and a 4.6 percent decrease since 2008.

Average wages in Washoe County increased from $39,520 in 2006 to $44,980 in 2014, growing steadily over this period, with a total increase of 13.8 percent.  While this is positive, wages are reported in nominal terms, unadjusted for inflation.  Consumer price index for All items, West Size Class B/C as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics increased by 14.8 percent between 2006 and 2014.  This indicates that wages are increasing at a rate below inflation.  While this discrepancy still exists, it is lower than the difference between 2006 and 2013 wage and inflation growth.  During this period, wages in Washoe County increased by 11.4 percent, while inflation increased by 13.3 percent, a difference of almost two percentage points.  The difference decreased because for the first time since 2009, Washoe County wage growth in 2014 exceeded inflation, with wages increasing by 2.1 percent between 2013 and 2014, compared to inflation increase of 1.3 percent.

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