The “second” estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2017 posted the strongest growth in three years, expanding at a 3.3 percent annualized rate. The upward revision of 0.3 percent from the first estimate of 3.0 percent reflected stronger-than-expected business investment, especially inventories. A smaller loss in state and local government spending also contributed to the upward revision. U.S. nonfarm employment exhibited a larger-than-expected gain by adding 228,000 jobs in November. October retail sales continued a robust pattern of year-over-year growth, up by 4.6 percent, probably reflecting growing consumer confidence. October housing starts fell by 2.9 percent compared to a year ago due to a yearly loss in multi-family units, while seasonally adjusted housing prices in the U.S. continued to rise.
Nevada posted generally positive signals in economic activity based on the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment added 2,800 new jobs in October. The unemployment rate, however, edged up to 5.0 percent. Taxable sales in September rose by 4.0 percent year-over-year, and gasoline sales (in gallons) also were up by 2.2 percent during the same period. October gaming revenue experienced a weak 0.3 percent gain year-over-year.
For Clark County, somewhat mixed signals emerged with the latest data. Seasonally adjusted employment added 2,600 jobs from September to October. October visitor volume for Clark County continued its year-over-year contraction, down by 3.9 percent largely due to trip cancellations and postponements caused by the tragedy of the October shooting, while total McCarran Airport passengers climbed by 1.4 percent. October gaming revenue also decreased slightly by 0.3 percent compared to last year as a result of a large 6.1 percent dip on the Las Vegas Strip. Clark County taxable sales and gasoline sales for September grew by 2.2 and 2.3 percent, respectively, from a year ago. June residential housing permits gained 11.0 percent year-over-year.
Washoe County also experienced favorable signals in economic activity. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 200 jobs and rose by 1.5 percent from last year. September taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties increased by 12.7 percent year-over-year. October gaming revenue and visitor volume experienced gains, up by 3.3 and 6.1 percent, respectively, from a year ago. Total air passengers also gained 10.5 percent during the same period. Residential housing permits in September decreased by 4.6 percent from last year. September commercial permits declined by three units compared to last year.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst, UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research