Las Vegas' struggles of the past decade are all too visible

The Associated Press

This April 21, 2016, photo shows construction work on housing lots near Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nev. Many of the lots have been sitting dormant for years. Some cities are still struggling to shed the scars of recession. In Las Vegas, half-finished housing developments, relics of the housing boom, pockmark the surrounding desert. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Even as a handful of major U.S. cities around the country have flourished in the 10 years since the Great Recession officially began in December 2007, other large cities have eked out only modest recoveries. Some are still straining to shed the scars of recession.

Las Vegas is one of them. Families in that metro area still earn nearly 20 percent less, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 2007.

In parts of the Las Vegas area, the struggles are all too visible. Half-finished housing developments, relics of the housing boom that preceded the recession, pockmark the surrounding desert. They symbolize the belief in endless economic possibility that seized the Las Vegas area in the early 2000's — and its unraveling in the years that followed.