Patrick Gibbons

From 1976 until the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, Nevada’s unemployment rate was, on average, 0.1 points lower than the national average. Over the last two and a half years, however, unemployment has climbed dramatically in Nevada, even setting a record for the BLS monthly state unemployment series. What happened?

Clearly the housing bubble played a large role. Nevada, like California, Florida and Arizona, enjoyed a massive housing and construction boom that collapsed like a house of cards. But that isn’t all. The drop in tourists’ disposable income is also hurting the Silver State. However, the overlooked culprit is probably the Nevada Legislature. Nevada’s legislature implemented two of the state’s largest tax hikes in state history within one single decade.

Taking money from wealth-producing sectors of the economy to prop up wealth-consuming sectors (like the government) is very likely lengthening the economic troubles in Nevada.