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Navigating the Nevada Economy
Data & Tools for Understanding Our State & Our Local Economies
September 29th, 2009
University of Nevada, Reno
Simulation Scenario #4 - LEGISLATIVE AIDE
Situation & Setting
An aide to a legislator saves the day through use of the NV-REAP site by giving vital economic context that forms the basis of the stump speech given during the waning days of an intense and hotly contested campaign.
You are a legislative aide to a congressman from northern Nevada, who is in the waning days of an intense campaign. Because telephone polling surveys indicate he needs to draw a few hundred additional votes out of Northeastern Nevada, he needs to give a last-minute speech in Elko, Nevada. His chief strategist has told him the speech must be about economic issues, so he needs data and graphics on the economy. The congressman, from southern Nevada, has only been to Elko once in the past and has no knowledge of economic issues altogether, so the information must be presented in a simple, graphically pleasing format. Some interns in his campaign will be making excessively large versions of some of the graphics that you produce as a backdrop. They would like this in a PowerPoint format, and they would like it in 1 hour.
The NV-REAP site to the rescue! This can be accomplished in just a few short minutes---see how below.
Your Assignment
While you have the site open and at your fingertips, go through the following questions and use the site to find out the following information. The steps below will provide a very basic economic analysis for Elko County, Nevada, using the NV-REAP site.
The steps below will provide a very basic economic analysis for Elko County, Nevada, using the NV-REAP site.
  1. GRAPHIC TREND ANALYSIS: This will provide the meat of your analysis---it presents county level data in a graphical manner, for basic employment, population, industrial, and income measures.
    1. Navigate to the main NV-REAP page (
    2. On the left menu, click on "Comparative Trends Analysis" followed by "Population"
    3. Click on "Elko" from the county list shown at the right hand side of the screen and then select any other county of interest. Results will be displayed. Be sure to consider which graphics will be valuable for your legislator to familiarize himself with the region. For instance, figure 1 and figure 6 within the population module would be very beneficial to gain insight on population trends in the county.
    4. Go back and repeat these steps for "Personal Income", "Per Capita Income" and "Employment", paying attention to which graphics would be advantageous for use in this presentation.
  2. MAJOR COMPONENTS OF PERSONAL INCOME: This feature allows for a quick and easy way to get a comprehensive view of the income structure of a region. You should know how dependent the region is on earnings and non-earnings income.
    1. Click "Major Components of Personal Income"
    2. Click "Elko" County in the menu to the right
    3. Interpret the results as a group. What do figure 2 and figure 11 infer about the structure of Elko's economy, relative to Nevada and the rest of the United States? Brainstorm about the impact of that on the voting populous---what types of political statements might be more or less appealing to that population?
  3. INDUSTRY STRUCTURE AND EMPLOYMENT: These steps will show us the magnitude of concentration of employment and earnings for these counties. In simple terms, it shows what types of jobs are especially important in the region.
    1. Click "Nevada" on the toolbar to the left
    2. Click "Industry Structure and Performance"
    3. Click "Industries by County"
    4. Click "Employment"
    5. Click "Elko" in the menu to the right (note: location quotients provide a measure of how concentrated a particular industry's employment or wages are for a region. Values of 1 represent direct proportionality for the size of an economy. Values of 16 reflect employment or wages in an industry that are 16 times that of the rest of the county for economies that size---in that context, look at the location quotient for mining!)
    6. Repeat the same for "Earnings" and "Average Earnings Per Job"
    7. Interpret these results, and discuss how they might be used in the politician's speech. What types of voters are being addressed? Employment in which industries are important to the voters of Elko? What are the high-paying jobs in the region?
  4. BRAINSTORM: (time permitting) There is a wealth of data at your fingertips on the NV-REAP site. Browse the modules, and consider whether any of them offer additional information that could embolden your presentation.
  5. CONSTRUCT YOUR PRESENTATION: Be sure to include the following in your presentation:
    1. Graphics showing the population trends for Elko county
    2. Graphics showing income trends for Elko county
    3. Graphics highlighting important industries in terms of employment and earnings
    4. Any additional details you have gleaned from the NV-REAP site that will inform your conclusions
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