The U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a 1.1 annual rate in the second quarter of 2016, The increase in real GDP was mainly due to surprisingly large gains in consumer spending, while cutbacks in private business investment contributed to U.S. economic growth remaining stuck in the slow lane. In spite of lackluster business investment, U.S. nonfarm employment added 151,000 jobs in August. Retail sales and auto and truck sales in July remained above their respective levels from last year, and housing starts and housing prices experienced both month-over-month and year-over-year gains with the most recent data. The Federal Reserve continues to hint at their intention to hike the interest-rate soon. But, many economists argue that the next increase will not likely occur until the end of this year because of recent economic performance and political and global economic uncertainty.
The Nevada economy continues to post strong, positive signals on its economic recovery. The adjusted statewide employment gained 4,700 jobs from June to July. Gaming revenue posted a strong 10 percent year-over-year growth, which mostly reflected a 28.5 percent increase in table games revenue in July. Taxable sales for June increased strongly by 9.6 percent from a year ago, while gasoline sales in gallons continued its robust 3.7 percent year-over-year growth over the same period. Total air passengers also rose by 2.9 percent compared to a year earlier.
Most recent data indicate continuing improvement in Clark County’s economic activity. Seasonally adjusted employment added 3,400 jobs from June to July. Taxable sales jumped by 10.1 percent from a year ago after weak growth from last month. Total McCarran passengers and visitor volume in July also climbed by 2.6 and 2.8 percent, respectively, from last year. Gaming revenue experienced a strong yearly 10.2 percent rise. Residential housing permits declined significantly by 25.9 compared to last year. Commercial permits continued to decrease by 16.7 percent from a year ago, remaining low and volatile.
Washoe County also saw more favorable signals in its on-going recovery compared to last month with a significant rebound in housing permits. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 1,400 jobs for the month and rose by 4.3 percent for the year. Taxable sales rose by 12.3 percent year-over-year and gaming revenue grew strongly at 9.3 percent year-over-year. Residential housing permits finally increased both month-over-month and year-over-year by 204.3 and 236.7 percent, respectively, thanks to a significant pick-up in Reno.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst, UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research