The U.S. economy continues its slow recovery from recession. For third quarter 2010, estimated real GDP growth was revised upward to a 2.5 percent annualized rate, which is stronger than the 1.7 percent figure for second quarter 2010. U.S. nonfarm employment rose by a tepid 39,000 jobs (seasonally adjusted) in November, marking the second consecutive month of increases. In addition, real personal consumption and retail sales increased in October, and consumer confidence increased in November. The Kansas City Financial Stress Index also dropped below its long-run average in November—indicating that financial turmoil is lessening.
With U.S. consumption spending rising, the Nevada economy is showing signs of recovery. October gaming revenue was up 11 percent from a year earlier—though down 3.2 percent from September. October visitor volume and taxable sales were also higher than a year earlier. The state unemployment rate fell from 14.5 to 13.7 percent in October, as labor force participation dropped.
The economic picture for Clark County is a little more robust than for the state as a whole. October gaming revenue was up 12.5 percent from a year ago—though down 3.6 percent from a strong September. October visitor volume also was up over a year ago. Taxable sales were unchanged from the previous month. Residential construction permits and Las Vegas employment nudged upward. The Las Vegas unemployment rate fell from 15.0 to 14.1 percent, as labor force participation declined.
Washoe County economic activity also shows signs of improvement. October visitor volume was down by 3.2 percent from a year ago, but gaming revenue was 4.3 percent higher than a year earlier, and taxable sales were 2.5 percent higher. Employment was up slightly over September. The Reno-Sparks unemployment rate fell from 13.6 percent to 12.8 percent, as labor force participation fell.
With the national recovery showing continued signs of reinvigoration, the Nevada economy—particularly the leisure and hospitality sectors—is showing definite signs of improvement. The real estate and construction sectors are likely at or near bottom, but the large overhang in residential and commercial space suggests no significant improvement is likely for quite some time. Given the lingering issues in the financial sector and the reluctance of businesses to invest, the U.S. economy is likely to continue on a slow upward path, which suggests a slow recovery for the Nevada economy.