Revised estimates for fourth quarter 2012 show U.S. real GDP increasing by an annualized rate of 0.1 percent. Private inventory investment, federal government spending, and exports made negative contributions. The reduction in federal government spending comes after a surge in defense spending during third quarter, as a response to possible sequestration. In addition, Europe’s problems are affecting the United States in the form of weak exports. Personal consumption expenditures, business fixed and residential investment all made positive contributions for fourth quarter. U.S. nonfarm employment continues to rise, gaining 236,000 jobs from January to February. The national unemployment rate decreased slightly to 7.7 percent. Housing starts are up substantially year-over-year, and housing prices continue to rise. Auto/truck sales decreased, while retail sales increased for January. Consumer confidence and sentiment have made gains recently. The Nevada economy evidenced mostly positive signs for December. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 2,000 jobs (0.2 percent) from November to December. The Nevada unemployment rate decreased from 10.8 percent to 10.2 percent. Visitor volume was 1.8 percent higher in December than a year earlier. Taxable sales continue to show growth, up 3.0 percent from last year. Gaming revenue had a strong month and is up 10.2 percent from December 2011—mostly the result of increased sports betting and table play.
For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment increased from November to December by 5,100 jobs. The Las Vegas unemployment rate declined, from 10.9 percent in November to 10.4 percent in December. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were down 0.8 percent from a year earlier. Compared to a year ago, December visitor volume was up by 2.1 percent. Gaming revenue was 11.2 percent higher in December than a year earlier. Clark County’s taxable sales for December were 6.0 percent above those from a year earlier. Residential construction permits increased from December to January.
Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment increased by 200 jobs (0.1 percent) from November to December. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate declined slightly, from 10.8 percent in November to 10.2 percent in December. Compared to a year earlier, December visitor volume and total air passengers were both down, by 0.8 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Gaming revenues for December were nearly identical to the same period a year earlier. Residential construction permits increased slightly in December, while commercial construction permits remained low.
The U.S. economy experienced slow growth for fourth quarter 2012. A weak national economy is affecting Nevada in the form of slowing growth in tourism.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
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