Carson City employers pay less, report says

Carson City is gaining more lower paying jobs and showing a smaller amount of growth in higher-paid industries, according to a regional economic report.

The average wage for all industries within the city is $32,706, about $6,400 less than the national wage, according to a report issued by AngelouEconomics for the Northern NVision study.

The reason for this may have to do with Carson City's large concentration of hospitality and leisure jobs, said Donal Hummer Jr., vice president for Harley-Davidson Financial Services.

"They pay fairly close to the national average, but that's still a low wage, and I think that's what is impacting how our average wage is compared to others," he said Tuesday.

He said other professional areas, such as education, financial services and trade, are comparable or exceed national averages. The Carson City manufacturing sector saw a 0o.4 percent employment increase in 2003-04.

Jobs pay an average wage of $41,000. The financial sector grew 4.5 percent. These jobs pay on average of $38,000, compared to $62,000 nationwide.

On the other hand, leisure and hospitality employment grew 5 percent, a pace double the national average. These jobs pay on average $17,000 in Carson City.

The concentration of lower-paid workers could be improved if Carson City continues to attract higher-paying professional companies, Hummer said.

But these companies are going to need a highly educated work force. Carson City's work force tends to be less educated.

Carson City has fewer residents with bachelor's degrees compared to the nation, 19 percent versus 27 percent.

"We're having trouble meeting the work force needs with the labor pool we have here," said Michele Petee, center manager for Carson JobConnect. "We don't have many young, educated professionals to meet the needs of the expanding, rapidly growing work force."

Professional development for young Hispanics is an important cause to Rosa Garza, a member of the Nevada Hispanic Service advisory board. She believes it'll be another five to 10 years until a strong Hispanic professional force moves into Carson City.

"I'm sure we're going to have a lot more representation, but for the time being we will need to find a way to be a part of the community," she said. "Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are taking their time in getting educated."

Carson City's 2005 population is less diverse than the nation, with 31 percent who are ethnic minorities, compared to 39 percent nationally. Carson City's Hispanic population is 16 percent, which is the largest ethnic group represented.

This is the first of three reports that are part of the Northern NVision study, which is a collaborative effort between Northern Nevada Development Authority and Western Nevada Development District.

It was launched to determine and market the economic development assets of the seven rural Northern Nevada counties.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.

NVision report

Highlights from the Carson City report:

• The median income of $45,608 is 5 percent lower than the regional median of $47,801.

• About 25 percent of Carson City's households earn less than $25,000, slightly less than the national rate.

• Leisure and hospitality employment, driven by the gaming and tourism industry, grew at a pace double that of the national average.

• The city's strongest manufacturing sectors - aerospace and defense Ð declined in strength over the past few years.

Source: Northern NVision Database of Assets report on Carson City


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