December 2013: Business Indicators

Read Nevada business indicators: December 2013. Includes status of U.S. Nevada, Las Vegas, and Reno economies.Advanced estimates for third quarter 2013 show U.S. real gross domestic product increasing at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent, a slight improvement over the 2.5 percent growth experienced in second quarter 2013. Federal government spending made negative contributions. Personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, business fixed investment, residential investment, net exports, and state and local government spending all made positive contributions. U.S. nonfarm employment experienced moderate gains for October, adding 204,000 jobs over September. The unemployment rate rose slightly from 7.2 percent to 7.3 percent. Housing starts were up substantially year-over-year, and housing prices continued to rise. Auto/truck sales and retail sales were also up year-over-year. Both consumer confidence and consumer sentiment fell for the most recent data. The Kansas City Financial Stress Index remained near its long-run average in October, which suggests no financial headwinds; and the Federal Reserve System’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey indicates that credit may finally be loosening. Nonetheless, commercial paper outstanding is not yet showing much growth.

The Nevada economy evidenced mixed signals for the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 11,200 (1.0 percent) jobs from July to August, and it was up 2.2 percent year-over-year. Taxable sales continued to show growth, up 3.7 percent from last year. Total air passengers were down 1.5 percent over the same time period. Gaming revenue experienced large gains for the month, up 11.2 percent from August 2012.

For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment rose from July to August by 9,400 jobs and was up 2.7 percent year-over-year. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were down 0.8 percent from a year earlier. August visitor volume was up 0.9 percent from a year ago. Gaming revenue was 12.3 percent higher in August than a year earlier. Clark County’s taxable sales for July were 3.6 percent above those from a year earlier. Residential construction permits decreased from August to September. Commercial construction permits remained at a low level.

The most recent data show mixed signals for Washoe County as well. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment increased by 1,100 (0.6 percent) jobs from July to August. Total employment is down from a year ago, by 0.1 percent. Total air passengers were down 8.2 percent over the same time period. Gaming revenues for August were up 8.4 percent from a year earlier. Residential construction permits rose in September, while commercial construction permits remained low.
The U.S. economy experienced a slight pickup in growth for third quarter 2013. A weak national economy is affecting Nevada in the form of slowing growth in tourism. Despite the slowing tourism, taxable sales continue to make gains at the state level.

Ryan T. Kennelly, Economic Analyst
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research

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