November 2012: Business Indicators

The U.S. economy continues to experience weak growth. Recently revised data for U.S. real GDP show an annualized growth rate of 1.3 percent for second quarter 2012, somewhat below the previous estimate of 1.7 percent. Consumer spending drove most of the gains, but it was lower than in first quarter. Business fixed investment and residential investment also made smaller contributions than in previous quarters. Government spending and net exports made negative contributions. For September, U.S. nonfarm employment rose by 114,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September. Personal consumption expenditures, auto/truck sales, and retail sales all increased in August. The Kansas City Financial Stress Index remained near its long-run average in September, which suggests no financial headwinds or tailwinds.

The Nevada economy showed mixed signals for August. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment decreased by 1,000 jobs (0.1 percent) from July to August. The Nevada unemployment rate increased slightly from 12.0 percent to 12.1 percent. Visitor volume was 1.6 percent higher in August than a year earlier. Gaming revenue was 3.1 percent lower in August than a year earlier, mostly a result of decreased slot play. In addition, taxable sales were 4.1 percent higher in July than a year earlier.

Clark County’s economy saw mostly positive signals. Seasonally adjusted, the region’s employment increased from July to August by 2,400 jobs. Seasonally adjusted, the Las Vegas unemployment rate declined slightly from 12.1 percent in June to 12.0 percent in August. Compared to a year ago, August visitor volume was up by 1.0 percent. Gaming revenue was 3.4 percent lower in August than a year earlier, mostly a result of decreased slot play. Clark County’s taxable sales for June were 5.6 percent above those for a year earlier. Residential construction permits increased slightly from July to August. Commercial construction permits remained volatile at a low level.

Washoe County showed less favorable economic signs than Clark County. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment decreased by 100 jobs (0.1 percent) from July to August. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate rose slightly, from 11.7 percent in July to 11.8 in August. Compared to a year earlier, August visitor volume was up by 6.4 percent. Gaming revenues for August were up by 5.1 percent over the same period a year earlier. Residential construction permits decreased in August, while commercial construction permits remained at a low level.

Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research

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