Las Vegas is at the forefront of a nationwide manufacturing “resurgence,” a new study shows.

The Las Vegas, Henderson and Paradise region was the fastest-growing manufacturing center among large cities since 2018, according to a recent report by Zetwerk, a global manufacturing firm. The study, which looked at manufacturing across the U.S., also noted that Nevada has seen the greatest increase in manufacturing employment since 2018.

“The growth of the manufacturing industry is particularly significant because it signifies economic vitality and job creation,” Anirudh Reddy, business head of Zetwerk-North America, said in an email. “Manufacturing jobs often provide higher wages compared to other sectors, contributing to increased prosperity for individuals and communities. Additionally, a thriving manufacturing sector boosts overall economic productivity and competitiveness on both a state and national level.”

Though the report shows that California and Texas are the overall leading states for manufacturing in the U.S., Reddy said Nevada “stood out” for manufacturing employment growth, with a substantial amount of the latter taking place in the Las Vegas area, specifically.

“Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise recorded a notable surge in manufacturing employment … the highest among large metros nationwide—suggesting a growing manufacturing presence in the region,” he said.

Perry Ursem, senior vice president of business development for the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, noted that manufacturing has a decades-old history in Las Vegas, and the sector is continuing to grow across different disciplines.

A lot of businesses that may have moved overseas in the 1980s and ’90s are now returning to the U.S., Ursem said, which is likely so they can get manufacturing closer to the consumer and stay up-to-date with trends. Las Vegas stands out in particular, he said, because of its overall proximity to southwest cities.

“Our location in Las Vegas—we have access to approximately 60 million consumers within a one- to two-day truck travel out of Vegas … going toward California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and even further north,” he said.

Nevada is home to manufacturers across industries, from advanced technology to food production, said Michael Cymbrowsky, manufacturing business adviser at Manufacture Nevada, the state’s branch of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network—a U.S. Department of Commerce-funded initiative that aims to advance manufacturing nationwide.

“I think it’s nice, it’s pretty diversified,” Cymbrowsky said of Nevada’s manufacturing landscape. “It has broad groups and a pretty strong entrepreneurial spirit, even at mid-sized companies. And I think the agencies seem to be very supportive and collaborative. There is a genuine mission to help these companies out.”

The region is also attractive to manufacturers for its dry climate, Ursem said, and the fact that it’s adjacent to California, which is home to one of the largest economies in the world. Manufacturers in Southern Nevada can easily do business with California, Ursem said, without actually having to be in that state.

“And when you think of all the tax costs and regulatory impacts that California has, what better than to be in a place like Southern Nevada?” he said. “And literally within the four-hour truck travel to Los Angeles, you can access that customer base, that marketplace, but then come back to the safe haven that Southern Nevada—but more importantly, Nevada—is known for: lower costs, a lot less regulation, much more business friendly.”

The state’s entrepreneurial spirit is what really helps businesses in Nevada keep up with the global economy, Cymbrowsky said, and stakeholders here seem eager to grow the economy so it becomes even more sustainable and balanced.

“I think the state … they’re trying to leverage their strengths and trying to focus on some key segments, because, of course part of the whole business plan—whether it’s for one company or an entire geographic area—there has to be some focus,” he said. “You still want it to be diversified and balanced. But it seems to be that the state has a pretty good strategy about how to try to continue the growth and make it sustainable.”

One of the industry “verticals” that the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance is focusing on with regards to manufacturing, Ursem said, is the lithium battery space. Nevada is unique in that it’s one the first states to have the opportunity to house all seven phases of activity in lithium battery manufacturing—from mining extraction to recycling of lithium, he said.

“We have the lithium,” he said. “Now it’s a matter of processing it to make it usable. But again, as that develops and evolves, how does that become an opportunity for us to attract businesses in the lithium-ion battery space, to grow that industry and continue to diversify our economy?”

Manufacturing helps make the community more sustainable, and creates jobs, Ursem said. Additionally, the more manufacturing that’s brought to Southern Nevada, the more it will shield the region from the economic “ebbs and flows” of recessions and pandemics, he said.

“So, when you think of the manufacturer, it’s beyond just that company,” Ursem said. “Again, it’s all of those resources coming in, and then all of the other services in the community that support those people living in the area to support that manufacturer to do its job.”

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This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

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