Published February 1, 2023 at 5:51 PM PST

There are projections of a looming national recession and yet Andrew Woods of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research projects that Clark County’s population is projected to grow this year by 52,000 people.

Woods told KNPR State of Nevada Host Joe Schoenmann today that 2022 was a story about the resiliency of the American consumer, and 2023 will be about the resiliency of American business.

“We have higher wages, higher business rates, we have cooling demand. We have gluts in surplus. Before we had supply chain snarls,” Woods said. “I think it’s going to be about how does business react to this new economy? We don’t forecast a recession… at this time but we do forecast a cooling of demand and cooling of the economy over the next two years.”

Woods noted that the U.S. economy will continue to grow during this period, which saw 2.1 percent growth in 2022 when compared with 2021 levels. He forecasts a 1 percent economic growth rate this year.

In October, state employment grew by 7,500 jobs, Woods added, noting that “we have more jobs todays than in 2019.”

That said, outside factors such as another variant of COVID or a global political crisis, could throw the U.S. into recession through a significant rise in unemployment, he said, noting that we only have 39 more people in the Southern Nevada workforce today than we had in 2019, making it more difficult for employers to find workers.

“We’re not seeing the prime-age workers move into (the workforce) to fill jobs in the leisure and hospitality industries,” Woods noted, adding that businesses likely will be fighting over workers for years to come, much of this being the result of the ongoing retirement of baby boomers, which will continue through 2030.