The U.S. economy continues to experience slowing growth. Revised data for U.S. real GDP show an annualized growth rate of 1.7 percent for second quarter, somewhat lower than the 2.0 percent rate set in first quarter 2012. Consumer spending drove most of the gains, but it was lower than in first quarter. Business fixed investment and residential investment also made smaller contributions than in previous quarters. Government spending and net exports made negative contributions. U.S. nonfarm employment only rose by 96,000 jobs in August after fairly robust growth in July. The unemployment rate fell slightly from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August. Sales of new homes dropped in July, while housing prices increased. Both consumer sentiment and consumer confidence slipped in July. Business surveys and anecdotal reports show businesses delaying investment until after the election.
The Nevada economy showed mostly positive signs for July. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 2,100 jobs (0.2 percent) from June to July. The Nevada unemployment rate increased slightly to 12.0 percent. Visitor volume was 1.9 percent higher in July than in June. Gaming revenue was 17.0 percent higher in July than a year earlier, mostly a result of increased baccarat and other table play. In addition, taxable sales were 15.5 percent higher in June than a year earlier.
Clark County’s economy also saw mostly positive signals. Seasonally adjusted, the region’s employment increased from June to July by 1,900 jobs. Nonetheless, the seasonally adjusted Las Vegas unemployment rate ticked up from 12.0 percent in June to 12.1 percent in July. Compared to a year ago, July visitor volume was down by 1.2 percent. Gaming revenue was 21.2 percent higher in July than a year earlier, mostly a result of increased baccarat and other table play. Similar to the state’s experience, Clark County’s taxable sales for June were 18.5 percent above those for a year earlier. Residential construction permits dropped in July after a good showing in June. Commercial construction permits remained volatile at a low level.
Washoe County showed less favorable signals. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks employment decreased by 1,200 jobs (0.6 percent) from June to July. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate rose, from 11.5 percent in June to 11.7 in July. Compared to a year earlier, July visitor volume was up by 1.9 percent. Gaming revenues for July were down by 8.2 percent over the same period. Residential construction permits increased in July, while commercial construction permits remained at a low level.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
Go to the View Issues page and click on October 2012 to view this article with accompanying statistics.