With the state being one of the least densely populated regions of the United States one would imagine that the economy would be weak. With the area being dominated by large areas of desert and barren land the idea that there would be any commercial activity is scarcely believable. Yet Nevada over the centuries has attracted people who have arrived looking to make their personal fortune. For a long period, mining has been important in the State. From 1859, and the discovery of Comstock Lode under the eastern slope of Mount Davidson, silver mining has been operating in Nevada. This early discovery resulted in a rush of prospectors into the region, with mining camps being set up in the vicinity. The amount of activity in the area depends on the world price of silver, with there still being some mining activity at Gold Hill by the Comstock Mining Inc.
However, silver comes way behind gold as the most profitable mineral that is mined in the States. In 2015 Nevada mined 5,339,659 troy ounces of gold, which accounted for 78% of all the gold mined in the United States and 5.8% of all the gold in the world. The mining in the region is mainly from open pit mining and employs over 14,000 people in the area, paying an average of 92,000 dollars a year. The current mines in operation are found at Jerritt Canyon and Carlin Trend, and currently there are 7 different companies mining in the region.
It is a common misconception that Nevada is all desert and it actually has a variety of different landscapes. The valley areas have been locations for agriculture to be successfully practiced and this has particularly been the case with cattle ranching.
There are an estimated 500,000 head of cattle being raised in the state plus 70,000 sheep. The cattle are fed off the rangeland in the summer months and the average sizes of ranches found in the state (3500 acres), rank third in the nation. Dairy farms are found in the southern part of the state supplying the nearby urban markets. There is also arable farming practiced with much of this on irrigated land. Although some crops like alfalfa are exported overseas, 50% of all output is for the livestock’s winter feed. Nevada gets the majority of its economic wealth from industries associated with tourism. Huge numbers of tourists are attracted into the state each year to sample the wild outdoors plus of course the adult, and some junior, entertainments that are found in the city of Los Angeles. Nevada has one hotel room for every one of its residents which is the highest ration nationwide.
The amount of many being brought into the region through the casinos is vast, with over 12 billion dollars being brought in through gaming revenue in 2016. However, these visitors also spent over 13 billion dollars in the same period on non-gaming revenue. The service industry operating in Nevada is huge. With nearly 43 million people visiting Las Vegas every year the numbers working in retail, catering and hotels are very large, and help to regenerate the money the has been lost at the casinos.
With the continuing rise of the state as a tourist destination the economic future of Nevada is bright. The recent trend of major sporting franchises relocating into the region will only continue to help strengthen the areas economic position.