The “advance” estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2017 grew at a 2.6 percent annualized rate. Real GDP for the first quarter was revised downward to a 1.2 percent pace. Residential investment exhibited the largest decrease among the real GDP components for the second quarter, while consumer spending and business investment rebounded robustly. U.S. nonfarm employment added a solid 209,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate edged down to 4.3 percent, a 16-year-low level. June retail sales experienced a weaker-than-expected 2.8 percent year-over-year gain, although consumer confidence stayed at a favorable level. The Federal Reserve will probably raise the interest rate once more in 2017 and will start to shrink its $4.5 trillion balance sheet this year, which could promote hikes in mid- and long-term interest rates.
Nevada posted positive signals in its economic activity based on the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment gained 10,600 jobs in June. The trade, transportation and utilities sector created the largest number, 4,200 jobs. Taxable sales in May continued to post a strong 9.2 percent year-over-year increase, which reflected both a sturdy gain in Clark County and a huge surge in Storey County. Legalized recreational marijuana sales are expected to bring additional gains to taxable sales going forward. May gasoline sales (in gallons) increased by 4.0 percent year-over-year.
For Clark County, somewhat muted positive signals emerged with the latest data. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.9 percent. June visitor volume for Clark County declined by 1.9 percent year-over-year, and the hotel/motel occupancy rate was also down slightly by 0.9 percent from a year ago. Nonetheless, total McCarran passengers was the fourth highest on record, up by 1.5 percent year-over-year during the same period. May taxable sales and gasoline sales climbed 5.7 and 3.7 percent, respectively, compared to a year earlier. Residential housing permits and commercial permits in February decreased substantially by 58.2 and 32.6 percent, respectively, year-over-year.
Washoe County experienced highly positive signals in its economic activity. The unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent in June. Taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties in May increased dramatically by 25.3 percent from last year, thanks to increased activity at TRIC. June gaming revenue and air passengers rose by 1.7 and 8.5 percent, respectively, year-over-year. Residential housing permits in June significantly exceeded their level from last year by 161.0 percent, which reflected a continuing upsurge in multi-family units in Sparks and Reno.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst, UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research