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Shot In The Arm: Business Booms Across Las Vegas Valley

Arts District merchants hope customers return to the dining and retail district in downtown Las Vegas.
Curtis Joe Walker

Arts District merchants hope customers return to the dining and retail district in downtown Las Vegas.

When vaccinations increased, so did business in Nevada.

But not just a little. The business has exploded, in some cases, drawing record customers and revenues. 

The federal government says Nevada had the fastest-growing state economy in the country for the first quarter of the year, sparked by a surge in hospitality spending.

Angie Morelli, owner of T-shirt-design shop Customistic, said her company made as much money in June as she did in the first half of 2020, and now she is growing her company.

“Since March, we’ve been trying to hire more people,” said Angie, who starts workers at up to $17 an hour with benefits.

The chairwoman of the Vegas Chamber, which has 7,000 members, said the economy is across the market.

"There's no other word to describe it than it's just nuts," said Gina Bongiovi, a Las Vegas business attorney as well as chamber chairwoman.

The president and CEO of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, echoed that, saying some of his 600 members are still limiting service because they can't hire enough staff.

"They're not even hiring extra people, they're having a hard time just hiring back to where they were at before," said Sonny Vinuya.

Bongiovi said businesses, organizations, and governments coming together during the worst of the pandemic laid the groundwork for today's rebound 

"Had that not happened, I think the numbers would have been a lot worse," she said.

Potentially adding fuel to the economic fire are the Resorts World opening and the return of conventions and trade shows.

"It is certainly a job seeker, slash, candidate market," said Joe Sharpe, project director for One-Stop Career Center, a government-funded employment and training center. 

He told State of Nevada that today's labor shortage provides a chance for workers to move up or to a job that better suits them. 

“This is an opportunity to do something different potentially, or to find something that really does match up,” said Sharpe, who says job-seekers can learn more at the career center’s website.

He said a new state law allowing laid-off workers the right to return to their jobs should create even more interest in going back to work.

"Our expectations at the One-Stop Center is it's just going to give us additional opportunities to work with people," he said, "if they can't physically return to those jobs or don't want to return to those jobs, then we have to help them."



Gina Bongiovi, chairwoman,Vegas Chamber; Sonny Vinuya, president/CEO, Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce; Angie Morelli, owner, Customistic;  Joe Sharpe, project director, One-Stop Career Center   


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Zachary Green is the Coordinating Producer and a Reporter for KNPR's State of Nevada Program. He reports on Clark County, minority affairs, health, real estate, business, and gardening. You'll occasionally hear Zachary Green reporting and fill-in hosting on the State of Nevada program.