The U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a 1.4 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2016, revised up by 0.3 percentage point from the second estimate. The upward revisions mainly reflected an increase in nonresidential fixed investment, which decreased in the previous estimate. Large gains in consumer spending contributed to a rise in real GDP, while cutback in private business investment lowered the GDP growth to a slow pace. U.S. nonfarm employment added 156,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate, however, edged up to 5.0 percent from August to September, which is a positive signal as discouraged workers returned to the labor force. Retail sales continued year-over-year increases, while auto and truck sales in August fell by 3.8 percent from a year ago. Note, however, that the auto market sales reached an all-time high last year. Housing starts and housing prices experienced year-over-year gains with the most recent data.
The Nevada economy continues to post strong, positive signals on its economic recovery. The adjusted statewide employment gained 4,800 jobs from July to August, and the unemployment rate fell from 6.5 to 6.3 percent during the same period. Taxable sales and gasoline sales in gallons for July increased robustly by 3.0 and 6.5 percent, respectively, from a year ago. Total air passengers also experienced a 2.7 percent year-over-year increase, while gaming revenue dropped by 5.2 percent from last year after a strong gain in the last month.
The most recent data indicated continuing improvement in Clark County’s economic activity, although disappointing housing permit figures continued. Seasonally adjusted employment added 5,300 jobs from July to August, while the unemployment rate dropped from 6.5 to 6.0 percent during the same period. Residential housing permits again declined significantly by 17.6 percent compared to last year, mostly due to a large decrease in the number of single-family residential permits in the City of Las Vegas. Commercial permits remained low and volatile.
Washoe County posted highly favorable signals on its continuing recovery. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 1,000 jobs for the month. The unemployment rate went down to 5.1 percent in August. Taxable sales and gasoline sales for July experienced year-over-year growth, up by 7.9 and 4.8 percent, respectively. Residential housing permits continued a three-digit yearly increase, rising by 129.6 percent, thanks to a significant jump in multi-family residential permits/units in the Reno-Sparks area.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst, UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research