The “second” estimate for fourth quarter 2014 shows U.S. real gross domestic product increasing at an annualized rate of 2.2 percent, lower than the 2.6 percent growth first reported. Compared to the “advanced” estimate, changes in private inventories increased less and nonresidential fixed investment increased more. Personal consumption expenditures, residential investment, and state and local government spending also made positive contributions. Net exports and federal government spending made negative contributions. U.S. nonfarm employment experienced gains in February, adding 295,000 jobs over January. The unemployment rate fell from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent. Housing starts were up substantially 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 and consumer sentiment both fell for the most recent data. In addition, oil prices are at their lowest levels since before the recession.
The Nevada economy evidenced 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 strong year-over-year growth, up 10.2 percent. Total air passengers were up 1.2 percent over the same time period. Gaming revenue experienced gains for the month and was up 7.7 percent from January 2014.
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 percent. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were up 0.3 percent from a year earlier. January visitor volume was up 3.4 percent from a year ago. Gaming revenue was 7.8 percent higher than in January 2014. Clark County’s taxable sales for December were 10.9 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, January visitor volume was up 10.9 percent. Total air passengers were down 4.6 percent from December 2013. Gaming revenues for January were up 12.4 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 growth—rebounding from a weak first quarter.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research