community stories for southern Nevada

Employment

Marcy Kaptur says “When the bank comes to take it away…”

Stay in your homes:

  

Also, let’s play Wall Street Bailout:

 


Waiting for the next McMansion to drop…

 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Las Vegas remains vulnerable to further price drops, because banks are likely to acquire a significant number of new foreclosures in the coming year….Here’s a snip from the article:

For now, the market seems to be stabilizing, says Jeffrey Otteau, president of Otteau Valuation Group, an East Brunswick, N.J., appraisal firm. But if the job market gets much worse and mortgage rates rise sharply, “that could be the tipping point” for another drop in prices.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, predicts that average national home prices will bottom out in next year’s third quarter, assuming that employment begins growing again in mid-2010. But prices in some metro areas still have a long way to fall, he believes. Prices in the second quarter of 2010 will be down about 30% from a year earlier in Miami, 27% in Orlando, Fla., 24% in Las Vegas and 23% in Phoenix, Moody’s Economy.com forecasts.

Foreclosures and short sales (in which a home is offered for less than the mortgage balance) dominate the markets in some metro areas. Satish M. Mansukhani, a market strategist in New York, estimates that such “distressed” homes account for 79% of home listings in the Detroit area and 75% in Las Vegas, but just 16% in Houston and 7% in Boston.

One big question is how much more the federal government will do to prop up housing. Congress is debating whether to extend the tax credit for home buyers beyond Nov. 30. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is phasing out its massive purchases of mortgage-backed securities and plans to conclude the program by the end of March. Those purchases have helped keep interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages around 5%. Mr. Zandi says mortgage rates are likely to rise as much as one percentage point after the Fed ends that support. Analysts at Barclays Capital in New York forecast mortgage rates will be slightly over 6% by the end of March.


Stimulus jobs missing states that need it most–like Nevada

A story in the New York Times indicated that the federal stimulus package hasn’t created many jobs in states hit hardest by unemployment.

Businesses with federal stimulus contracts have created few jobs in states with the worst unemployment rates, according to data released Thursday by the federal government.

The new jobs reported (reported here) come from a small slice of a sliver of the $787 billion stimulus program: the roughly $16 billion worth of stimulus contracts that were awarded directly by federal agencies, of which about $2.2 billion has been spent so far. But the preliminary data represented the first time that the federal government has reported actual job figures, and not just job estimates, and they provided the most complete snapshot yet of how one component of the sprawling program — direct federal contracts — was shaping up.

One thing was clear: while the federal contracts have created or saved 30,383 jobs, they were not directed to states with the highest jobless rates. Businesses in Michigan, whose 15.2 percent unemployment rate in August was the highest in the nation, reported creating or saving about 400 jobs. Businesses in Nevada, which had the next highest unemployment rate, reported 159. And businesses in Rhode Island, which had the third-highest unemployment rate, 12.8 percent, reported the fewest jobs: just six.

The Review-Journal had its own story:

Nevada’s unemployment of 13.2 percent is the nation’s second-worst jobless rate. But the Silver State’s $57.4 million share of federal-contract money represents 2.6 percent of the total awarded nationwide, while North Dakota, where unemployment is just 4.3 percent, received 4.3 percent of funds granted. Its $96 million in contracts was almost twice the dollars Nevada companies collected.

What’s more, North Dakota reported creating or saving 219 jobs, while Nevada businesses formed or spared 159 jobs. Nevada has roughly five times the population of North Dakota.

Colorado, which has a jobless rate of 7.3 percent, received 26.5 percent of dollars awarded so far, with $583 million in contracts


State of Nevada: Looking beyond the decline…

…and learning from the rust belt.

We did a show on KNPR’s State of Nevada, looking at the ballooning need for social services in Nevada. The state’s unemployment rate recently hit 13.2% (it’s higher in Las Vegas). Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes. The state’s Health and Human Services Department estimates that by 2013, 1 in 5 Nevadans will be on food stamps.

So, if the boom times are gone, what can we learn from cities that faced a similar decline years ago? On this edition of State of Nevada, we talked with the dynamic, young mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, Jay Williams. Williams shared some of the things he’s been trying to accomplish in Youngstown, a city that’s been declining since the steel mill heyday of the 50’s and 60’s. 

Smaller is better? Jay Williams says yes. Listen to Mayor Williams offer a little advice to Oscar Goodman, and to the rest of our show, here:

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Newly Poor in Nevada

Would you take the time to read this sign? Listen to the story here:

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not homeless


Seniors dipping into Social Security

Job losses have pushed seniors to claim early retirement benefits, the AP reports. And this snip from an article in the Money Times.

For the time, in close to three decades, the Social Security will be compelled to dole out more in benefits than it collects in taxes during the next coupe of years.

The reason is huge job losses and an increase in the early retirement claims from laid-off people. For the time, in close to three decades, the Social Security will be compelled to dole out more in benefits than it collects in taxes during the next coupe of years.

The reason is huge job losses and an increase in the early retirement claims from laid-off people.


Drops from the ocean, into the bucket. New jobs in Las Vegas….

With unemployment 13.4%, any new jobs in Vegas are good jobs in Vegas. Last week, we heard about the bleak prospects on KNPR’s State of Nevada–a discussion with two LA Times writers about people who are currently looking for work in Las Vegas.

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But yesterday in Vegas we had a little bit o’ good news: A story about the chosen few among some 160,000 applicants who went after jobs at city center. On hand at the MGM Mirage press event were (of course) select hires, including 23 year-old Mollie Ehrman. Ehrman was profiled in yesterday’s Las Vegas Sun article about the new hires.

Ehrman received a job offer for a salon receptionist position at Aria at CityCenter’s employment center. The recent college graduate and soon-to-be Ohio transplant has been working at an Ohio department store, but today marks the start of her first “big girl job,” as she called it.

“Everything’s changing,” Ehrman said “Everything’s brand new.”

CityCenter began making employment offers to hundreds of workers Monday in preparation for the project’s opening later this year, bringing hope to those who have been unemployed and new opportunities for others looking to make a change.

The $8.5 billion complex on the Las Vegas Strip was extending offers to between 500 and 700 people on Monday. Most employees filling the remainder of the 12,000 jobs will receive offers of employment by the end of the month.

 


Vegas jobless rate hits a new record…

…of 13.4%…Yikes!

Add to that number the estimated underemployed people in the city, and it’s likely that one-quarter of Las Vegas working people are struggling to make ends meet.

Yesterday on State of Nevada, we talked about the human cost of a city full of people looking for work. And the contrast between now and yesterday, when Las Vegas was a wellspring of employment opportunity. Guests included a pair of LA Times writers, and I played interview tape from a job fair at the Hard Rock Casino in June. The desperation among many in line was palpable then. I can only imagine what it is now.

You can listen to the segment here. And we’d love it, if you’d share your story of looking for work here.

And here’s a snip from an article on the new jobless rate in today’s Las Vegas Sun:

The jobless rate in the Las Vegas area continued at a record pace in August with unemployment in the gaming and construction industries on the rise.

The department said the unemployment rate in the Las Vegas area reached 13.4 percent with an estimated 135,100 workers out of a job. That surpasses the record 13.1 percent set in July.

The state’s unemployment rate rose to 13.2 percent with an estimated 182,600 persons jobless.

“Taken as a whole, conditions have deteriorated markedly,” says William Anderson, chief economist for the state’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.


This morning on KNPR’s State of Nevada

Las Vegas has the worst housing market in the country; casinos and construction companies are slashing jobs. Among the thousands of Californians who flocked to Las Vegas during the boom times, many are now headed home. And thousand of un (or under) employed people are scouring the city to find work.

Today, producer Adam Burke joined Dave Berns on SoN, as part of KNPR’s continuing coverage of the economy in southern Nevada, and the continuation of our series: Belonging Las Vegas.

We discussed the current state of employment (and unemployment) with Ashley Powers and Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times. They wrote an excellent two-part series on the economic meltdown in southern Nevada. She focused on the people who are looking for work in Vegas, in a piece called: Vegas Dreamers Go All In. A follow-up story on the Vegas economy, is called Luck runs out on Vegas boom.

Adam shared some of the stories he’s been hearing from people who are desperately looking for work, and played audio he gathered at a job fair at the Hard Rock Casino in June.

The segment ran between 10 and 10:30 am PST. You can listen here:

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Two different futures for the Golden State economy…

…one optimistic, one less-so. The Washington Post has a story on a UCLA study, that predicts the recession will last for awhile yet:

The quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast released Wednesday predicts the state’s jobless rate will jump to 12.2 percent later this year – up from 11.9 percent in July – and will continue in double digits into 2011.

A summary says the nation’s economy is recovering but the state will remain mired in recession longer because it relies heavily on the slumping housing and financial industries. Budget problems also may cost many government jobs.

However, economists from the University of California, Los Angeles predict Silicon Valley’s economy will improve thanks to federal stimulus money and increased tech exports.

Meanwhile, a more golden on the meaning of the study, from the  LA Times:

Signs are increasing that an economic turnaround has begun in Southern California, even as residents and businesses continue to struggle in the worst downturn in decades.

The state’s exports are growing as overseas consumers, especially those in Asia, are demanding computers, electronics and agricultural products from California. Tourists are starting to return to the region’s hotels and beaches. And home prices appear to be stabilizing in some of the Southland’s hardest-hit markets.

“All of the indicators are that the recession is over with, even in California,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast.


Temp jobs show signs of a recovery

Temp jobs on the rise in Las Vegas….article in the Sun calls this an early indicator.

There are two factors potentially at play, said Brian Gordon, principal at Applied Analysis, an economic consulting firm.

One is that employers are starting to see increased demand and are seeking temporary workers as they feel out the market. Another reason might be that when companies laid off employees, they let too many go and are now short-handed, he said.


Hispanics hardest hit by unemployment

Here’s a link to an article in the RJG….