The “third” estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2017 was revised upward to a 3.1 percent annualized rate, which is 0.1 percentage point higher than the “second” estimate. The upward revision reflected a slightly higher increase in private inventory investment than previously thought. U.S. nonfarm employment lost 33,000 jobs, which is the first job loss in seven years. The negative growth mainly reflected a large 105,000 payroll drop in food services and drinking places due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The average hourly earnings accelerated to the fastest yearly rate since 2009, up by 2.9 percent. The unemployment rate, however, fell to 4.2 percent, a 16-year low. The Federal Reserve started to shrink its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in October by reducing its bond and mortgage-backed security holdings, which could promote small hikes in mid-and long-term interest rates.
Nevada posted generally positive signals in its economic activity based on the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment added 2,700 jobs in August and posted the largest percentage annual statewide growth of any state, up by 3.0 percent. Taxable sales in July experienced a robust 5.3 percent year-over-year gain, boosted by both the Reno-Tahoe Industrial Center (TRIC) and higher-than-expected first month sales of recreational marijuana. July gasoline sales (in gallons) also increased by 2.3 percent during the same period. August gaming revenue surged by 14.9 percent.
For Clark County, somewhat positive signals emerged with the latest data. Seasonally adjusted employment added 4,200 jobs from July to August. August visitor volume for Clark County continued its year-over-year loss, down by 1.5 percent, while total McCarran passengers climbed by 3.6 percent during the same period. August gaming revenue jumped by 16.1 percent from last year. Clark County taxable sales for July increased by 2.3 percent from a year ago. Gasoline sales grew by 1.8 percent during the same period. June residential housing permits gained 11.0 percent year-over-year.
Washoe County experienced highly positive signals in its economic activity. Although the Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment remained unchanged in August, it was up by 1.9 percent from last year. Taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties in July continued to exhibit a sturdy 13.6 percent yearly rise. August gaming revenue and air passengers gained 10.1 and 12.4 percent, respectively, year-over-year. Residential housing permits in July rose substantially by 26.6 percent from last year.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst, UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research