The preliminary estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2015 indicates an annualized rate increase of 2.3 percent. Recent Bureau of Economic Analysis revisions state that real GDP increased by 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2014, higher than the negative 0.2 percent growth in the third estimate. Higher real GDP growth in the first quarter of 2015 consisted mostly of upward revisions to business and residential investment. In terms of real GDP for the second quarter of 2015, personal consumption expenditures, net exports, state and local government spending and residential fixed investment made positive contributions. Federal government spending, private inventory investment and nonresidential fixed investment made negative contributions. U.S. nonfarm employment experienced gains in July, adding 215,000 jobs over June. Housing starts were up strongly both month-over-month and year-over-year, and housing prices experienced an increase. Auto/truck sales and retail sales remained above their respective levels from last year and are expected to stay strong. In addition, oil prices have experienced decreases and remain at their lowest levels since the recession.
On balance, the Nevada economy evidenced positive signals with the most recent data. Taxable sales continued to show year-over-year growth, up 2.1 percent. Total air passengers were up 5.4 percent year-over-year.
For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment rose from May to June by 5,500 jobs and was up 3.3 percent year-over-year. The Las Vegas unemployment rate fell from 6.9 percent to 6.8 percent. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were up 5.8 percent from a year earlier. May visitor volume was up 1.9 percent from last year. Clark County’s taxable sales for May were 1.9 percent above those of a year earlier. Residential construction permits strongly increased from a year ago, while commercial construction permits remained at a low level. Gaming revenue was 10.2 percent lower than in May 2014.
The most recent data showed more mixed signals for Washoe County. Reno-Sparks’ seasonally adjusted employment decreased from May to June by 1,500 jobs but was up by 2.8 percent from a year ago. The Reno-Sparks’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed constant at 6.3 percent. Compared to last year, June visitor volume was down 3.4 percent, while total air passengers were up 0.8 percent. Gaming revenues for June fell by 0.7 percent from a year earlier. Residential construction increased strongly from May to June by 25.2 percent and was up 77.3 percent compared to its level from a year ago. Commercial construction permits remained low.
The U.S. economy has experienced moderate growth in the second quarter of 2015 due to strong consumer spending. Nevada’s employment also exhibits stable growth.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research