Number plates a sign of the times

My home is not far from a convenience store that is not far from Interstate 44. When I visit the convenience store, I like to check the number plates of the vehicles that are getting gas.

Of late, I have noticed an unusual number of vehicles with Nevada number plates. Most of these vehicles are full of stuff. Usually, there’s just enough room in the vehicle for the driver and maybe a passenger or a pet. The occupants of these vehicles appear to be moving more so than traveling.

Just yesterday, I saw something that really piqued my interest. It was a string of five vehicles, including two moving trucks, that were traveling in a convoy. They lined up at the convenience store to get fuel. All of the vehicles had Nevada number plates.

So what’s happening in Nevada? It appears the "Great Recession" as it is now being called has hit Nevada really hard. Nevada leads the nation in home foreclosure filings. The unemployment rate in Las Vegas, a city whose economic engine is driven by disposable tourist dollars, has skyrocketed to nearly 10 percent. The disposable dollars are gone. Even the brothels in Nevada are suffering.

What is happening is a mass migration out of Nevada. The exodus is so great that its influence can be detected here in Joplin.

One of these days I’ll get up the nerve to ask someone at the convenience store with Nevada number plates where they are going. I already know why they’re leaving Las Vegas.

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