Revised estimates for first quarter 2013 show U.S. real GDP increasing at an annualized rate of 2.4 percent, an improvement over the 0.4 percent growth experienced in fourth quarter 2012. Federal government spending, net exports, and state and local government spending all made negative contributions. Personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, business fixed investment, and residential investment all made positive contributions to first quarter growth. U.S. nonfarm employment experienced moderate gains for May, adding 175,000 jobs over April. The unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.6 percent. Housing starts were up substantially year-over-year, and housing prices continued to rise. Auto/truck sales and retail sales are up year-over-year. Consumer confidence and sentiment increased in May.
The Nevada economy evidenced mostly positive signs in February. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 5,600 (0.5 percent) jobs from March to April, and it was up 2.0 percent year-over-year. The Nevada unemployment rate decreased slightly from 9.7 percent to 9.6 percent. Taxable sales continued to show growth, up 5.0 percent from last year. Total air passengers were down 0.1 percent over the same time period.
For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment rose from March to April by 2,500 jobs and was up 2.4 percent year-over-year. The Las Vegas unemployment rate remained constant at 9.9 percent. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were down 0.2 percent from a year earlier. Compared to a year ago, April visitor volume was down by 2.1 percent. Gaming revenue was 1.0 percent lower in April than a year earlier. Clark County’s taxable sales for March were 6.8 percent above those from a year earlier. Residential construction permits decreased from March to April. Commercial construction permits remained at a low level.
The most recent data show positive signals for Washoe County. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment declined by 2,000 (1.0 percent) jobs from March to April. Total employment remains up from a year ago, by 0.3 percent. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks’ unemployment rate remained constant at 9.6 percent. Compared to a year earlier, April visitor volume was down 2.6 percent. Total air passengers were up 1.3 percent over the same time period. Gaming revenues for April were up strongly (10.0 percent) from a year earlier. Residential construction permits increased in April, while commercial construction permits remained low.
The U.S. economy experienced a slight pickup in growth for first quarter 2013. Consumer spending and most measures of the housing market are showing continued improvement. A weak national economy is affecting Nevada in the form of slowing growth in tourism. Despite the slowing tourism, taxable sales continue to make gains at the state level. Nevada’s employment is also showing relatively stable year-over-year gains.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
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