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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 #5 - HEALTH CARE SECTOR SCENARIO
Situation & Setting
A health care lobbying group is interested in the importance of health care employment in Nevada. They wish to use data showing the relative lack of health care employment in Nevada as a stepping stone to tax inducements for future firm relocations into Nevada.
Nevada as a stepping stone to tax inducements for future firm relocations into Nevada. In your job as an economic aide-cum-consulting politico, you have been approached by a lobbying firm seeking your assistance in producing graphics and maps showing the importance of health care employment in Nevada. They are hoping to show that Nevada is underserved by health care employment as a basis for their demands for heavy tax inducements for new firms that choose to locate in Nevada. They demand graphics showing the importance, relative wages, and trends in health care employment.
The 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.
  1. IMPORTANCE: In order to get lawmakers excited about an industry, it's necessary to show the importance of the industry within the geography of their constituency, in terms of both jobs and earnings (it's also important to show that the particular industry has deep pockets, but we'll assume lawmakers are already aware of the deep pockets of the health care industry).
    1. This part will produce location quotients, which are a simple and frequently used index that measures concentration of employment in the key sectors. Any index above "1" indicates a higher-than-expected concentration of employment in that industry for the size of an economy.
    2. Click "Industry Structure and Performance" from the left menu, then "Counties by Industry", "Employment", and then click "Health Care and Social Assistance" in the menu to the right of the screen. Note the low location quotients/lack of concentration of health care employment among Nevada counties relative to the U.S. (Also note the heavy BEA data suppression in many sparsely-populated Nevada counties).
    3. Lawmakers are often primarily concerned with earnings per job, which in the parlance of the day are termed "family wage" jobs. In order to compare average earnings in the health care sector in Nevada with the rest of the U.S., click "Industry Structure and Performance", then "Counties by Industry", then "Average Earnings Per Job". This will produce two maps and two tables, showing the relative earnings of health care. Pay special attention to Map 1, and include it in your presentation. It offers graphical evidence that, in terms of average earnings, health care employment pays higher than average relative wages in Nevada than it does in the rest of the country. Discuss with your group the potential reasons for this, and examine/discuss the other tables in the module as well (Consider whether to include other graphics for your presentation).
    4. In this step, you've identified that Nevada has a lower concentration of health care/social assistance employment than would be expected, and that relative wages in the sector are higher than would be expected. That is news to the ears of both the lobbyist and sympathetic lawmakers!
  2. TREND: Let's consider the trend for health care and social assistance employment in Nevada. Using the "Industry Structure and Performance" window from step 1, click on "Counties by Industry", "Employment" and then again click "Health Care and Social Assistance" in the menu to the right. Scroll down to Table 2, and note the strong growth in the non-suppressed Nevada counties. Also, to get a longer trend perspective, click "Employment Growth" radio button, and under "Select a year and a preferred measurement of rank", select 2002-2007. This shows that the 2002-2007 trend is consistent with the 2007 data. Select a graphic or table to include in your presentation. Conduct these same steps with the other variables, including earnings and average earnings per job. Make a point of discussing the implication of these findings, and choose additional elements for your presentation.
  3. BRAINSTORM: (time permitting) There is a wealth of data at your fingertips on the REAP site. Browse the modules, and consider whether any of them offer additional information that could embolden your presentation.
  4. CONSTRUCT YOUR PRESENTATION: Be sure to include the following in your presentation:
    1. Graphics and/or maps showing the low LQ's for health care/social assistance in Nevada
    2. Graphics and/or maps showing relative per capita income data for health care/social assistance in Nevada
    3. Graphics showing the trend/change in health care earnings and employment over time.
    4. Any additional details you have gleaned from the REAP site that will inform your conclusions.
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