Economist and UNLV alumnus Jeremy Aguero is the featured speaker at the Rebel Business Network's Nov. 18 luncheon. His talk, "Local Economic Forecast: How Will Your Business Be Affected?," will offer a candid conversation about Southern Nevada's future.
A fourth-generation Nevadan, Aguero received a BS in Hotel Administration in 1997 and his law degree in 2004 from UNLV. He is the principal analyst of Applied Analysis is Las Vegas.
What drove you to become an economist?
It was somewhat serendipitous. As I was completing my bachelor's degree I worked for the firm Coopers and Lybrand, so that opened the door for that kind of work. Then, my professor, (the late UNLV economics professor) Shannon Bybee, asked me to help him write a paper for the federal gaming impact study commission. It gave me my first opportunity to do economics research on a real issue that affected my community. I was hooked on it after that.
What's the biggest misconception about your field?
Economics is one of those things where people see the world through their own lens. Someone in the construction industry will see the issue one way. A legislator will see it another. My job is to look at the entire picture and provide our clients with the information they need to do their jobs better.
When it comes down to it, if you're working on any real issue, roughly 50 percent of the people are going to want to believe you're wrong. But I'm not an advocate. I'm not there to be out in front of the issue.
Any predictions for 2015?
I think it's going to be a really interesting year. 2013 was about getting some distance from the recession. 2014 was about getting back to something that could be called normal. Now, it's about understanding what our normal is.
This really is a great time to be having a conversation about the economy. We have a legislative session coming up, population growth, and the housing market has gone from fast depreciating to fast appreciating. There is job creation again, $9 billion in construction planned or proposed. Tesla is a huge deal in the north and (unmanned aerial systems) in the south. (UNLV) is really doing some incredible things right now. We're seeing the evolution of Southern Nevada right before our eyes and so many of these things, I'm proud to say, are represented by UNLV alumni.
If you had a magic wand and could fix something about Nevada's economy, what would it be?
The education system. It's the silver bullet and the thing that's most problematic for our community today. Many people point to wages and jobs and issues of poverty, but all of that in one way or another is rooted in education.