High job growth linked to population surges

The Associated Press
Wednesday May 02, 2001

WASHINGTON — There is plenty of work to be found in places like Las Vegas and San Diego. 

Nevada’s Clark County, home to Las Vegas, and San Diego County in California, had some of the highest rates of job growth among the country’s largest counties between 1998 and 1999, according to Census Bureau reports being released Wednesday. 

Other counties with high job growth tended to be in the South, including Fulton County, Ga., which encompasses Atlanta; and Travis County, Texas, which includes Austin. 

Despite population growth and the recently unsettled economy, there still aren’t enough workers to fill jobs in many of those counties, said Jane Whisner, managing director of the Eastridge Group of Staffing Companies in Las Vegas. Businesses must get more creative with benefits packages to lure and retain people, she said. 

“You can attract people monetarily, but benefits that enhance quality of life retain them,” Whisner said. 

The job growth data is the latest available, and was separate from the 2000 census. But it is not surprising that the 2000 head count showed that most of the top counties in job growth saw their populations surge over the past decade, said Mark Mather, an analyst with the Population Reference Bureau, a private research group. 

Many of the counties saw large increases in their Hispanic population. Many recently arrived immigrants filled positions in construction and low-wage, service-oriented areas, Mather said.  

Non-farm employment in Clark County was up 8.7 percent between 1998 and 1999, according to the Census Bureau report. Nationally, there was 2.4 percent job growth during that period. 

The 2000 census showed that Clark County’s population surged 86 percent over the last decade to nearly 1.4 million. Its Hispanic population went up 264 percent. 

There was 5.7 percent job growth in San Diego County between 1998 and 1999. San Diego County’s population went up 13 percent the past decade, but once-small bedroom communities in neighboring Riverside County saw much faster growth. 

Among the new perks being offered by companies in San Diego and Las Vegas were massages every three months, memberships to wholesale food stores and free shipping services in December.