The “second” estimate for first quarter 2015 shows U.S. real gross domestic product decreasing at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent, lower than the 0.2 percent growth previously reported in the “advance” estimate. The revision consisted of a less increase of personal consumption expenditure and inventory investment and a larger decrease of net exports from fourth quarter 2014 to first quarter 2015. Personal consumption expenditures, federal government spending, changes in private inventories and residential investment made positive contributions. Non-residential fixed investment, net exports and state and local government spending made negative contributions. U.S. nonfarm employment experienced gains in May, adding 280,000 jobs over April. The unemployment rate rose from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent. Housing starts were up strongly, and housing prices experienced a slight increase. Auto/truck and retail sales remained above their level from last year. Consumer confidence rose while consumer sentiment fell for the most recent data. In addition, while oil prices have experienced recent increases, they remain at their lowest levels since the recession.
The Nevada economy evidenced mostly positive signals with the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment increased by 12,800 jobs from March to April, and it was up 3.4 percent year-over-year. The Nevada unemployment rate remained constant at 7.1 percent. Taxable sales continued to show year-over-year growth, up 2.6 percent. Total air passengers were up 1.6 percent over the same time period. Gaming revenue experienced gains for the month but was down 3.1 percent from March 2014.
For Clark County, seasonally adjusted employment rose from March to April by 7,600 jobs and was up 3.2 percent year-over-year. The Las Vegas unemployment rate remained constant at 7.0 percent. Total passengers at McCarran Airport were up 1.8 percent from a year earlier. March visitor volume was down 2.5 percent from a year ago. Gaming revenue was 4.0 percent lower than in March 2014. Clark County’s taxable sales for March were 2.0 percent above those of a year earlier.
The most recent data also show mostly positive signals for Washoe County. Seasonally adjusted, Reno-Sparks’ employment increased from March to April was up over a year ago, by 3.4 percent. The seasonally adjusted Reno-Sparks unemployment rate fell from 6.6 percent to 6.5 percent. Compared to a year earlier, March visitor volume was down 1.2 percent. Total air passengers were down 0.2 percent from March 2014. Gaming revenues for March were up 6.5 percent from a year earlier.
The U.S. economy contracted during the first quarter of 2015, marking the second straight year with a first quarter decline. Consumer spending remains strong and Nevada’s employment is showing stable growth.
Ryan T. Kennelly
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research