Luck in Las Vegas

I was in Las Vegas last week for a trade show (Glass Build America, an architectural glass and metal trade show) and since it was the worst week in recent financial history, people couldn’t help but talk about the economy and where it might be going.

The answer to that question changes on a daily basis.

But two things were apparent throughout the week. One was that everyone who calls on architects said that the firms they are visiting seem to be doing OK so far. There don’t seem to be any layoffs and the desks are filled with people working. If architects are still working that is good news for the long term.

The second was that there are places that have been overbuilt and Las Vegas is one of those. Cranes still dot the city skyline but there was talk of projects which have already started construction being stopped in the middle of the process and of projects which had not started construction yet being put on hold.

Even with the distractions of a trade show, it was a scary week every time I thought about the economy and the financial mess we are in. Las Vegas was fun, as it always is. But thinking about what I could see happening in construction in Las Vegas and what has happened there with the fall in value of real estate kept reinforcing for me just how wrong we have gone as a country and how much work there is ahead to fix our economic mess.

One final note: I am not a gambler and am able to be in Las Vegas for four days without spending any time in a casino. I do, however, enjoy recreational, social gambling with friends when the situation occurs. I did not lose any money while I was there last week.