Nevadans’ income declined 11.9 percent last year, the largest decrease in median income nationwide. The median household income in 2010 was just $51,000.
“This points to our continued need to diversify our economy so we are not so dependent on people in other states having discretionary income,” said Tray Abney, director of government relations for the Chamber of Commerce. “Nevada is still suffering from the decline in tourism, which our economy is based heavily on (along with construction).”
Only five other states saw income levels drop by at least 10 percent, according to the AP.
The census data runs counter to a recent survey produced by the Nevada Association of Employers.
“All I can say is the results of our most recent survey show a roughly 3 percent increase in wages,” said Jim Nelson, NAE executive director. “Now those numbers only represent northern Nevada employers and nothing from the south,” which might account for the discrepancy.
Nevada also had the second highest increase in the national poverty rate, trailing only Florida, according to the census data. Nevada’s poverty rate increased by 4.3 percent last year, and when coupled with the nation’s leading unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rate, the Silver State has a long slog ahead to recover its economic might.
“The good news is that it seems our passenger counts and gaming numbers are starting to make a very slow climb back,” Abney said, “but I don’t think we will ever be back to the extreme highs that we experienced in the middle of the last decade.”