With the approval of Gov. Steve Sisolak to move into the first phase of reopening the Nevada economy as soon as Saturday Southern Nevada’s chambers of commerce and government officials are trying to be optimistic.
The Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition held a meeting Thursday with the Nevada Business Network and several Southern Nevada chambers of commerce representatives about the regional response to the pandemic.
The Nevada Business Information Network is a statewide network of business, industry, trade and economic development organizations working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to share information and provide resources to Nevada businesses.
“We know the need is going to be great with unemployment at 25 percent or more and with 250,000 or more Nevadans going through unemployment insurance it will not be enough for us to simply reopen and help existing business rehire,” said Jonas Peterson, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.
Business leaders and government officials will need to aggressively pursue new job creation with high wage jobs to meet economic needs that will arise from the pandemic, Peterson said.
Part of that strategy should include “reshoring businesses” meaning luring businesses who are no longer willing to risk operations abroad after the crisis. As firms go bankrupt or discontinue during the coronavirus pandemic, other firms will step in to fill those roles. Nevada should focus on luring those new firms to the state, said Peterson.
“From my point of view the strategy is to push and push hard for new job creation,”Peterson said.
As the public yearns for some return to normalcy in the coming weeks, counties are looking towards the governor’s “Roadmap to Recovery” plan for guidelines. Clark County has advised businesses to consult with the governor’s office for further guidance and are in the process of developing a community economic development plan.
Brian Knudsen, a member of the Las Vegas City Council, said it was clear to him that simply reopening the economy would not be enough for a full recovery after conversions with business leaders in the state.
“In follow up discussions with me and business owners have been about ‘what if people don’t show up.’ Reopening just isn’t enough,” Knudsen said during the meeting, noting concerns about restoring consumer confidence.
Peterson said government officials must target industries and attract new firms to create new job opportunities that will help compensate for the number of jobs that will be lost due to the pandemic, advocating for more incentives.
Prior to the pandemic, lawmakers and the governor were beginning to cast some scrutiny on Nevada’s already-generous tax abatements and other incentive programs for businesses.
Local government will also need to create a robust economic development strategy to go after opportunities, said Peterson.