Business Indicators: July 2014

Nevada Business Indicators: July 2014. Includes status of U.S. Nevada, Las Vegas, and Reno economies.The “second” estimate for first quarter 2014 shows U.S. real gross domestic product decreasing at an annualized rate of 1.0 percent, lower than the positive 0.1 percent growth first reported. U.S. nonfarm employment experienced gains in May, adding 217,000 jobs over April. The unemployment rate remained constant at 6.3 percent, as labor force participation increased. Housing starts were up substantially year-over-year, and housing prices experienced a slight increase. Auto/truck sales and retail sales remained above their level from last year. Consumer confidence and consumer sentiment rose for the most recent data.

The Nevada economy evidenced mostly positive signals with the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 3,000 (0.2 percent) jobs from March to April, and it was up 3.8 percent year-over-year. The Nevada unemployment rate fell from 8.5 percent to 8.0 percent. Taxable sales continued to show growth, up 7.9 percent from last year. Total air passengers were up 1.9 percent over the same time period. Gaming revenue experienced losses for the month and were down 0.3 percent from April 2013.

For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment fell from March to April by 2,400 jobs but was up 3.0 percent year-over-year. The Las Vegas unemployment rate fell from 8.8 percent to 8.5 percent as the result of a decrease in labor force participation. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were up 1.7 percent from a year earlier. April visitor volume was up 6.7 percent from a year ago. Gaming revenue was 0.9 percent higher in April than a year earlier. Clark County’s taxable sales for March were 12.1 percent above those of a year earlier. Residential construction permits decreased from March to April. Commercial construction permits remained at a low level.

The most recent data show mixed signals for Washoe County. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment experienced no growth from March to April. Total employment is up over a year ago, by 4.4 percent. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate fell from 8.0 percent to 7.7 percent. Compared to a year earlier, April visitor volume was up 2.6 percent. Total air passengers were down 9.1 percent from March 2013. Gaming revenues for April were down 2.2 percent from a year earlier. Residential construction increased from March to April, while commercial construction permits remained low.

A weak national economy may be affecting Nevada by weakening tourism. Nonetheless, tourism remains fairly robust, and taxable sales continue to make gains. Nevada’s employment is also showing strong growth.

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