Mesquite lags in adequate labor pool

One of the most critical components of attracting new companies and businesses to Mesquite is the availability of an adequate workforce.

According to Foote Consulting Group, Mesquite is behind the power curve compared to its two closest competitor cities, St. George, Utah, and North Las Vegas. For those working in Mesquite and the businesses hiring them, that’s no surprise.

Through a series of interviews conducted with local companies including Mesquite Gaming, Eureka Casinos, and Do It Best distribution warehouse, FCG put together a composite image of the local workforce as it stands now.

“The objective of these interviews was to determine current salary/wages for select position; wage thresholds; hiring trends; labor availability and quality; and training needs,” says FCG’s labor analysis commissioned by Mesquite Regional Business, Inc.

The report is intended to aid companies seeking to build new Distribution Centers in Mesquite that would potentially employ up to 200 workers.

The median level wage of a distribution center supervisor in Mesquite was the highest at $46,545 compared to St. George ($40,861) and NLV ($46,443). For a typical material handler Mesquite also topped the other two cities at $29,938 in yearly pay. Laborers in a Mesquite distribution center would earn $26, 383 a year while those in St. George would earn $22,961 and in North Las Vegas it would be $26,293.

“Higher wages in Mesquite could make a negative difference in the bottom line of a new DC project, but even higher wages may be needed to offset poor availability,” the report concluded.

When it comes to measuring labor availability, Mesquite is decidedly below average at 4.4 on a 1-to-10 scale compared to the other two cities who both average around a 7 on the scale.

Companies reported to FCG that finding unskilled labor was a problem in Mesquite while others suggested using retirees in the local area on a part-time basis.

FCG’s conclusion in this category suggested that “Poorer availability will hurt prospect activity in Mesquite; they may have to pay more in a market that has the highest wages already or come up with other alternatives. A prospect must offer an unskilled warehouse worker between $26,500 and $32,000 per year in order to recruit successfully and stay competitive.”

Mesquite’s labor quality was rated “good” at 7.46 overall but still fell behind St. George at 8.41 and North Las Vegas at 8.63.

One local employer said the level of employees’ literacy, reading and writing is good in Mesquite and better than Vegas. Another reported that productivity in the Mesquite company was 25 percent better than Vegas. “Reliability and work ethic is high,” in local workers said another company.

“Labor quality is good in Mesquite, once you find the workers and we see no issues that would discourage any prospect. Basic skills improvements are worth exploring,” FCG concluded.

Mesquite’s cost of living was the highest of the three cities according to the report. North Las Vegas was the lowest at $94,400, St. George came in at $96,900 and Mesquite topped out at $101,400. Health services, transportation, consumables, housing, utilities, and property taxes comprised the bulk of the costs.

While Mesquite proved to have a higher quality of life at 7.99 than North Las Vegas’s 7.53, St. George held the top spot with a rating of 8.46. Factors included in the numbers were schools, medical services, home affordability, recreation, and cultural facilities.

Local businesses were polled about the quality of services they receive from utilities like water and electricity, police and fire, city permitting, and highways and roads. Mesquite scored 7.56 on the survey while North Las Vegas was rated at 8.53 and St. George topped out at 9.

FCG’s conclusion was that “quality of life and quality of service issues will present no problems to a distribution company looking at Mesquite.”

The labor analysis finished with a list of recommendations “designed to help the MRBI and its partners to improve economic development and workforce goals for the future.”

First on the list was developing a workforce/education/business roundtable of local business and community leaders to address the issues in the report. It also recommended working with the Nevada Career Center in Las Vegas to find more unskilled laborers by using on-the-job training programs, conducting job fairs and exploring a commuter service between Mesquite and the Las Vegas area.

The report also recommended local employers team with the College of Southern Nevada to help train unskilled warehouse workers. It also suggested helping area workers looking to change jobs or re-enter the work place get more training and retraining.

George Gault, interim CEO of MRBI told the Mesquite Local News that his ultimate goal of commissioning the report was the have a third party adequately and independently measure the area’s workforce and identify its weaknesses. “Only then can we structure our training programs to build a labor force that will meet the needs and demands of current and potential businesses,” Gault said.

Comments

  1. And – with half a million dollars of taxpayer funding over the past 2.5 years MRBI finally has a clue about the workforce in Mesquite! And it only cost $10,000 paid to OUTSIDE consultants. Tell me again what “professional services” MRBI provides to Mesquite.

  2. I am a new resident in Mesquite. I have skills & training. For TWO years I have been attempting to find a job. I got ONE call to see if I would be interested in unloading trucks at night at Walmart. That’s it, no one would call me for an interview or anything. I am a medical office professional, I applied for the same position (which came up several times) at a hospital, I am qualified, with specific experience. I couldn’t get a return call let alone an interview. A dentist office had a position posted for over a month, “we’re looking for someone with more experience”. Another business wouldn’t pay more than $11/hour for an office manager- with NO health insurance! I am begging people to hire me! I have great references, qualifications & experience, but I cannot get a job.
    Tell me more about the workforce being insuffient. I think the employers are looking for people with knowledge of a secret handshake and that are willing to work for less than minimum wage in many fast food restaurants!!!

  3. HappyCamper says:

    I agree with both Tami and johninnv.
    Yes, there seems to be a secret handshake that the new comers are not privy to.

    My husband and I plan on retiring in Mesquite, NV and have purchased land to build on. We both have several years before we hit that magic retirement age. We are both searching for jobs in Mesquite with hopes of relocating prior to retirement.

    It appears that the “Good” full time job posting are few and far between. I’m sorry, but part time does not cut for either one us.

    “Companies reported to FCG that finding unskilled labor was a problem in
    Mesquite while others suggested using retirees in the local area on a part-time
    basis.”

    If your company wants quality workers (unskilled or skilled), they need to post “Quality Jobs”. This means full-time, with benefits, and competitive wages. *Note to the casinos: this also means treating your employees with dignity and respect as well.

    I have applied for over 50 jobs, in which I was qualified for, in the last year. Some of the HR Managers won’t even return my phone call or e-mail about my application.

    One entity asked me to go through multi day testing and interview process. I was happy to do so even though the cost to me is roughly $250.00 as I travel from out of state. I did not get the job but was called later by the entity when the job supposedly opened back up a few months later. They had not seen my application and wanted me to re-apply. I thought my prospects were good, since they asked me to apply again, I was happy to do so with another cost of $250.00. During the second round I found out that no one was hired on the first round!

    The entity has yet to return my calls and e-mail request. As a longtime business professional and hiring manager, I find this attitude to shameful. Yes I understand that the businesses likely get many applications, but this is what the form letter was built for.

    We have friends that are long time Mesquite residents and they tell me that this type of behavior is pretty standard for the businesses in the area. Why put out help wanted ad if you are not going to hire for it???

    Perhaps I was actually applying for “bait jobs” created by the study company.

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