The third estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2016 was revised upward to 1.1 percent annualized growth rate from the 0.8 percent second estimate. The revision occurred as more complete data showed that exports increased more than previously thought. Nevertheless, the stronger dollar, cheaper oil and a weaker global economy still contributed to a slower U.S. domestic economy in the first quarter. While these three factors still cast a shadow over the U.S. economic outlook, the U.K. Brexit decision to leave the European Union adds more uncertainty to the U.S. outlook. U.S. nonfarm employment surprisingly gained more-than-expected 287,000 jobs in June after a sluggish growth in May. Housing starts posted a strong 9.5 percent year-over-year gain, and housing prices in the U.S. continued ticking up in April 2016.
The Nevada economy posted some mixed signals on its economic recovery. The adjusted statewide employment lost 3,800 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate increased to 6.1 from 5.8 percent from April to May. Gaming revenue continued its downward trend, decreasing by 4.5 percent from a year ago. Taxable sales and gasoline sales rose by 5.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, from last year. Even though total air passengers increased by 3.6 percent year-over-year, visitor volume fell by 3.5 percent during the same period.
The most recent data on the Clark County economy provide more positive than negative signals about the economy. Although seasonally adjusted employment lost 200 jobs from April to May, it added 21,300 jobs from May 2015. Visitor volume and gaming revenue experienced year-over-year losses, decreasing by 3.6 and 4.4 percent, respectively, from last year. Total McCarran passengers, however, increased by 3.9 percent on a year-over-year basis. Taxable sales and gasoline sales exceeded their levels compared to a year ago by 3.6 and 1.7 percent, respectively. Residential housing permits continued accelerating with the addition of new houses, up by 53.4 percent from last year.
Washoe County saw confusing signals in its on-going recovery based on recent data. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment lost 1,000 jobs for the month but gained 7,300 jobs for the year. Taxable sales showed a significant year-over-year growth, up by 20.6 percent, while gaming revenue and visitor volume fell by 3.4 and 2.4 percent, respectively. Gasoline sales increased month-over-month by 2.3 percent and experienced a slight increase year-over-year of 0.6 percent. Residential housing permits continued its significant loss, decreasing by 29.7 percent compared to a year ago.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst, UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research