Employment Concentrations by Metro: Las Vegas

The mix of jobs in a metropolitan area has significant impacts on the local apartment market. For this reason, MPF Research has identified five U.S. metros that have outsized exposure to certain industries. The data for these rankings were obtained via the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2015. In this blog series, we’ll take a deeper look at the five metro areas and highlight unique characteristics that drive the employment makeup of each metro. We’ll also look at a few other “runner up” metros that also have outsized exposure in these five employment industries.

Las Vegas Employment

Among the metros that have outsized exposure to certain industries is Las Vegas. Roughly 29.4% of Vegas employees work in the Accommodation and Food Services industry. That percentage translates to 264,300 Accommodation and Food Services workers.

The Accommodation and Food Services industry is comprised of “establishments that provide customers with lodging and/or preparing meals, snacks, and beverages for immediate consumption,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The sector includes both accommodation and food services establishments because the two activities are often combined at the same establishment.”

The lights, the glamour, the shows, the gambling, the over-the-top fun. Clearly, Las Vegas’ economy is dependent on tourism, which feeds the Accommodation and Food Services industry. In a recession, this metro is extremely vulnerable when tourism and discretionary spending fall off, as we saw in the Great Recession. However, when times are good, Las Vegas shines, as we are currently seeing.

Las Vegas

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Las Vegas received about 41.1 million visitors in 2014. That visitor tally was 3.7% above the number in 2013 (39.7 million) and marked the highest visitor volume seen here since at least 2004. And those visitors need places to eat and places to stay, which has increased visitor spending – albeit not as quickly as tourist numbers. Here is the break-out:

  • 2013: $26 billion was spent by visitors on non-gaming activities at restaurants, shops and other businesses.
  • 2013: $6.5 billion was spent on gaming on the Las Vegas strip.
  • 2013: $9.6 billion was spent on gaming in Clark County.

Some interesting facts about visitors to Las Vegas, according to a 2013 study by GLS Research for Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority:

  • 15% of visitors were first-time visitors to Las Vegas
  • 41% of visitors said the primary reason for coming to Las Vegas was vacation or pleasure
  • 15% of visitors came for gambling
  • 12% were visiting friends or relatives

Moreover, virtually all of those visitors (99.8%) stayed at least one night, but the average stay was 3.3 nights and 4.3 days. Of those who stayed overnight, 96% stayed in a hotel or motel. Of those who stayed in a motel, 32% paid a regular room rate and 13% purchased a package trip. Moreover, these overnight visitors spent an average of:

  • $868.24 on a packaged trip
  • $278.95 on food and beverage
  • $83.62 on lodging
  • $59.68 on transportation
  • $140.90 on shopping
  • $38.45 on shows
  • $9.29 on siteseeing

Now, let’s talk some of the fun attractions Las Vegas has that makes it such a popular place to visit:

  • Casinos
  • Restaurants
  • Nightlife
  • Shows
  • Fremont Street Experience:
  • The Strip (where each hotel has something special to offer)
  • Several other attractions, such as shopping, golf and spas

Las Vegas Employment Sector

Runners Up

There are a few more metros that should be mentioned that have high exposure to the Accommodation and Food Services industry. Keep in mind, though, that there is at least a 14-point difference between the percentage of Accommodation and Food Services industry workers in these metros compared to Las Vegas. These metros include:

  1. Orlando: Approximately 14.3% of the workforce here (or 164,800 individuals) are employed in the Accommodation and Food Services industry. Disney World, anybody?
  2. New Orleans: Approximately 13.0% of the workforce (or 73,400 individuals) are employed under the Accommodation and Food Services umbrella. From the French Quarter to all the excellent cuisine choices, NOLA has a lot to offer.
  3. West Palm Beach: About 11.3% (or 65,600 people) of the workforce are employed in the Food and Accommodations industry. West Palm Beach is known as a cultural hub of Florida and includes the Norton Museum of Art and the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Other fun places to go include the Lion Country Safari, a drive-through zoo.
  4. San Diego: Around 11.1% of the workforce in San Diego (or 152,800 people) work in the Accommodation and Food Services industry. This Southern California metro offers visitors lots of attractions to choose from including the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Old Town San Diego and Legoland San Diego, to name a few.

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