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 3.1 percent, up from the previous estimate of 2.0 percent. Most of the revision can be attributed to a higher rate of inventory accumulation than previously estimated. Although real GDP growth was higher than the tepid 1.3 percent growth rate for second quarter, the third quarter rate is still below the average growth rate of 3.4 percent the U.S. economy experienced from 1947 to 2007. Growth in U.S. real GDP during third quarter 2012 was driven by increases in personal consumption expenditures, federal government spending, net exports, and residential investment. Nonresidential fixed investment made negative contributions. U.S. nonfarm employment continues to rise, gaining 155,000 jobs from November to December. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8 percent in the same period. Housing starts are up substantially year-over-year, and housing prices continue to rise. Auto/truck and retail sales increased for November. Recently, consumer sentiment and consumer confidence have decreased significantly.
The Nevada economy evidenced mostly positive signs for November. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 9,200 jobs (0.8 percent) from October to November. The Nevada unemployment rate decreased from 11.5 percent to 10.8 percent. Visitor volume was 1.4 percent higher in November than a year earlier. Taxable sales continue to show strong growth, up 4.4 percent from last year. Gaming revenue did not have a strong month and was down 11.1 percent from November 2011.
For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment increased from October to November by 1,900 jobs. The Las Vegas unemployment rate declined, from 11.3 percent in October to 10.9 percent in November. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were down 0.2 percent from a year earlier. Compared to a year ago, November visitor volume was up by 1.9 percent. Gaming revenue was 13.0 percent lower in November than a year earlier. Clark County’s taxable sales for October were 5.2 percent above those from a year earlier. Residential construction permits decreased slightly from October to November. Commercial construction permits remained at a low level.
Washoe County had mixed signals for the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment increased by 2,700 jobs (1.4 percent) from October to November. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate declined slightly, from 11.3 in October to 10.8 in November. Compared to a year earlier, November visitor volume and total passengers were down by 3.8 and 4.4 percent, respectively. Gaming revenues for November were 3.1 percent below the same period a year earlier. Residential construction permits increased slightly in November, while commercial construction permits remained low.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
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