The U.S. economy is showing signs of moderate improvement. Revised estimates of U.S. real GDP for third quarter 2012 show an annualized growth rate of 2.7 percent, up from the previous estimate of 2.0 percent. Most of the improvement can be attributed to a higher rate of inventory accumulation than previously estimated. U.S. nonfarm employment continues to rise, gaining 146,000 jobs from October to November. The unemployment rate declined from 7.9 to 7.7 percent in the same period. Consumer sentiment and consumer confidence increased significantly in October.
The Nevada economy showed mostly positive signs for October. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 2,200 jobs (0.2 percent) from September to October. The Nevada unemployment rate decreased from 11.8 percent to 11.5 percent. Visitor volume was 2.5 percent higher in October than a year earlier. Gaming revenue was 1.9 percent higher year-over-year. Taxable sales continue to show strong growth, up 4.2 percent from last year.
For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment increased from September to October by 600 jobs. The Las Vegas unemployment rate declined slightly, from 11.7 percent in September to 11.3 percent in October. Total passengers at McCarran Airport are down 1.5 percent from a year earlier. Compared to a year ago, October visitor volume was up by 2.3 percent. Gaming revenue was 2.8 percent higher in October than a year earlier. Clark County’s taxable sales for September were 4.9 percent above those from a year earlier. Residential construction permits decreased slightly from September to October. Commercial construction permits remained at a low level.
The most recent data for Washoe County mirror those at the state level. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment increased by 800 jobs (0.4 percent) from September to October. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate declined slightly, from 11.6 percent in September to 11.3 in October. Compared to a year earlier, October visitor volume was up by 4.9 percent. Gaming revenues for October were 7.1 percent below the same period a year earlier. Residential construction permits decreased in October, while commercial construction permits remained low.
The U.S. economy had slightly stronger growth in third quarter 2012, but is still below its average growth for the prior half century. Consumer spending, auto sales, and housing are showing continued improvement. Weak growth at the national level is affecting Nevada in the form of slowing growth in tourism. Despite the slowing in tourism, taxable sales continue to make large gains. Nevada’s employment is also showing relatively stable year-over-year gains.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
Go to the View Issues 2013 page and click on January 2013 to view this article with accompanying statistics.