Newcomer traffic steady in December, down for the year

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Newcomers to Clark County in December increased by about a dozen more new drivers than arrived in the same month of 2011, the state Department of Licensing reported Thursday.

The number of out-of-county drivers applying for a local license was 1,113 this past month, a slight 1 percent increase over the 1,101 licenses swapped in December 2011. From January through December, 13,063 people sought licenses in Clark County, down 3.2 percent from the 13,494 people who sought licenses in all of 2011. It was the weakest year for license swaps since 2009.

Newcomer growth is often seen as a bellwether of the county's economic expansion because it indicates new residents who are likely to work, buy homes, shop and eat locally.