The “advance” estimate for fourth quarter 2014 shows U.S. real gross domestic product increasing at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent, much lower than the 5.0 percent growth experienced during third quarter 2014. Personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment, residential investment, changes in private inventories and state and local government spending made positive contributions. Net exports and federal government spending made negative contributions. Housing starts were up year-over-year, but housing prices experienced a slight decline. Auto/truck sales and retail sales remained above their level from last year. Consumer confidence rose while consumer sentiment fell for the most recent data. In addition, oil prices remain at their lowest since the Great Recession.
The Nevada economy evidenced mostly positive signals with the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 2,500 jobs from November to December, and it was up 2.3 percent year-over-year. The Nevada unemployment rate fell from 6.9 percent to 6.8 percent. Taxable sales continued to show year-over-year growth, up 6.9 percent. Total air passengers were up 2.1 percent over the same time period. Gaming revenue experienced gains for the month but was down 8.1 percent from December 2013.
For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment rose from November to December by 3,200 jobs and was up 2.6 percent year-over-year. The Las Vegas unemployment rate remained constant at 7.0 percent. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were up 2.3 percent from a year earlier. December visitor volume was up 5.4 percent from a year ago. Gaming revenue was 9.7 percent lower than in December 2013. Clark County’s taxable sales for November were 8.0 percent above those of a year earlier. Residential construction permits increased from November to December. Commercial construction permits remained at a low level.
The most recent data show mostly positive signals for Washoe County as well. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment experienced a decrease from November to December of 300 jobs. Total employment, however, is up over a year ago, by 0.8 percent. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate fell from 6.6 percent to 6.5 percent. Compared to a year earlier, November visitor volume was up 1.7 percent. Total air passengers were down 0.8 percent from November 2013. Gaming revenues for December were up 9.0 percent from a year earlier. Residential construction increased from November to December, while commercial construction permits remained low.
For the third straight quarter, the U.S. economy experienced strong growth—rebounding from a weak first quarter.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research