The second estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2015 reports a 2.1 percent annualized growth rate, revised up from 1.5 percent in the first estimate. The revision mostly reflected higher levels of inventory investment in the private sector, while consumer spending and net exports were revised downward. Strong consumer spending still remained a main contributor to U.S. economic growth in the third quarter. U.S. nonfarm employment added 211,000 jobs in November, but the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent from October as labor force participation increased in November. These labor market effects solidify the Fed’s decision to raise the federal funds rate at the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting. A strong dollar and a weak global economy could dampen U.S. economic growth in the future, but a strong job market and consumer spending will benefit the U.S. economy.
On balance, the Nevada economy posted positive signals from the most recent data releases. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment added 6,200 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.6 percent from September to October. September taxable sales and gasoline sales (in gallons) were up strongly by 5.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, on a year-over-year basis. Total air passengers increased, and gaming revenue decreased by 5.7 and 2.9 percent, respectively, year-over-year.
The most recent data indicate continued economic recovery in Southern Nevada. Seasonally adjusted employment added 5,500 jobs in October, up by 3.5 percent on a year-over-year basis. The professional and business service sector added the largest number of Clark County jobs for the month. Total McCarran passengers rose 6.4 percent from a year earlier. October visitor volume increased 5.4 percent from last year, reaching its highest monthly count in history. Clark County’s taxable sales and gasoline sales for September were higher by 4.8 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, from a year earlier. Residential permits rose 7.5 percent from a year ago, while commercial permits remained at a low level.
Positive signals also were posted for Washoe County. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment fell by 0.3 percent from September to October, but rose 3.3 percent from a year ago. October visitor volume increased 9.6 percent, while total air passengers decreased 2.6 percent from last year. Taxable sales for September experienced strong monthly and yearly gains, up by 3.6 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively. Gaming revenue for October increased 6.4 percent from a year earlier. Residential housing permits rose 5.4 percent on a year-over-year basis, but commercial building permits remained low.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Eonomic Analyst UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas or the Nevada System of Higher Education.