Nevada’s economy continues to outperform the U.S. economy. U.S. job growth, picking up recently, is still growing at a modest rate, up 1.5 percent year-over-year for the month of April. The Silver State, on the other hand, continues to create jobs, up a robust 6.6 percent measured annually over the same April-to-April period. In short, the better than 5 percent difference between Nevada and the U.S. is more than sufficient to result in Nevada leading the nation in job growth.
The brisk Nevada job market is widely distributed. The Las Vegas area (Clark County) has created jobs at an annual rate of 7.6 percent, and Reno experienced a 4.4 percent growth rate over the same period. Not surprisingly, with strong job growth, unemployment rates stand at 3.7, 3.7 and 3.5 percent respectively, for Nevada, Las Vegas and Reno – decidedly better than the national rate of 5.1 percent.
Though the national job market has failed to perform at effectively as other key sectors, the U.S. economy continues to grow. Inflation-adjusted Gross Domestic Product (real GDP) is expanding at 3.7 percent as of first quarter-2005. This expansion occurred during a period of increasing oil prices, with oil increasing to more than $60 per barrel. The recent price increases have not yet jolted consumers into less spending, however, though some weakness has appeared in auto and truck sales, down by 5.9 percent annually, measured April-to-April.
The Federal Open Market Committee met on June 29th and raised the federal funds target rate another quarter point. Still, rates remain favorable for business investment. As the Fed stays the course of raising the fed funds target, its mix of policies will shift to keep inflation in check and help the economy grow along a more measured course.