First estimates for fourth quarter 2012 show U.S. real GDP decreasing by an annualized rate of 0.1 percent. Private inventory investment, federal government spending, and exports made negative contributions. The reduction in federal government spending comes after a surge in defense spending during third quarter, as a response to possible sequestration. In addition, Europe’s problems are affecting the United States in the form of weak exports. Consumer confidence continues to decline, but consumer sentiment has made small gains recently. The Kansas City Financial Stress Index remained near its long-run average in January, which suggests no financial headwinds, but bankers say that regulators are inhibiting business lending. Business surveys and anecdotal reports also show businesses delaying investment until after a number of policy uncertainties are resolved.
The Nevada economy evidenced mostly positive signs for December. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 2,000 jobs (0.2 percent) from November to December. The Nevada unemployment rate decreased from 10.8 percent to 10.2 percent. Visitor volume was 1.8 percent higher in December than a year earlier. Taxable sales continue to show strong growth, up 7.1 percent from last year. Gaming revenue had a strong month and is up 10.2 percent from December 2011.
For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment increased from November to December by 5,100 jobs. The Las Vegas unemployment rate declined, from 10.9 percent in November to 10.4 percent in December. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were down 0.8 percent from a year earlier. Compared to a year ago, December visitor volume was up by 2.1 percent. Gaming revenue was 11.2 percent higher in December than a year earlier. Clark County’s taxable sales for November were 5.2 percent above those from a year earlier. Residential construction permits decreased slightly from November to December. Commercial construction permits remained at a low level.
Washoe County showed mixed signals with the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment increased by 200 jobs (0.1 percent) from November to December. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate declined slightly, from 10.8 percent in November to 10.2 percent in December. Compared to a year earlier, December visitor volume and total passengers were both down, by 0.8 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Gaming revenues for December were nearly identical to the same period a year earlier. Residential construction permits increased slightly in December, while commercial construction permits remained low.
The U.S. economy experienced declines for fourth quarter 2012. A weak national economy is affecting Nevada in the form of slowing growth in tourism.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
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