The second estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2015 was revised up from the first (advanced) estimate of 0.7 to 1.0 percent annualized growth rate. The revision occurred because private inventory investment experienced a smaller decline than estimated in the previous month. U.S. nonfarm employment added a more-than-expected 242,000 jobs in February. Retail sales experienced both monthly and yearly gains, while auto and truck sales remained strongly above their respective levels from last year. The U.S. stock market and oil prices also rebounded after substantial losses.
Based on the most recent data, the Nevada economy saw a modest pick-up in economic activity. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment added 5,800 jobs and the unemployment rate fell from 6.3 percent to 6.2 percent from December to January. December taxable sales grew by 5.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. In addition, gasoline sales (in gallons) increased by 2.0 percent from December 2014. Total air passengers continued a strong year-over-year growth, up by 7.1 percent. Gaming revenue decreased by 5.8 and 2.9 percent compared to last month and last year, respectively.
Most recent year-over-year data provided positive evidence for a continued recovery in Clark County. Seasonally adjusted employment experienced the largest job gains in a decade, by adding 8,100 jobs in January. Total McCarran passengers and visitor volume in January rose 7.3 and 2.1 percent, respectively, from a year earlier. Clark County’s taxable sales and gasoline sales for December exceeded their levels from last year by 5.5 and 2.2 percent, respectively. Residential permits continued a significant year-over-year rise by 76.7 percent. Commercial permits experienced both monthly and yearly losses, and they still remained at a low level. Gaming revenue fell by 3.3 percent compared to a year ago.
Washoe County experienced mixed signals from year-over-year data. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 1,300 jobs for the month, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent in December, its lowest level since April 2008. Taxable sales for December also posted a strong increase of 9.0 percent year-over-year, while gaming revenue for January was down by 1.9 percent. Although January air passengers increased by 5.4 percent year-over-year, visitor volume in January experienced a substantial loss, a 7.8 percent year-over-year decrease. Residential housing permits rose strongly by 37.8 percent year-over-year, but commercial building permits fell and remained low.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic 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.