The “third” estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2017 grew strongly at a 3.2 percent annualized rate, revised down by 0.1 percent from the second estimate of 3.3 percent. The downward revision of 0.1 percent from the second estimate reflected less-than-expected consumer spending, which more than offset the larger-than-expected increase in state and local government spending. Overall, all main components of the real GDP except for residential investment contributed positively to growth. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low. November retail sales continued its strong year-over-year growth, up by 5.8 percent. November housing starts rebounded, up by 12.9 percent compared to last year. At its December meeting, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate to a range between 1.25 to 1.50 percent and hinted at three rate increases in 2018. The expected tax cut (reform), however, could spur more aggressive monetary policies to prevent the economy from overheating.
Nevada posted generally positive signals in economic activity based on the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment added 1,800 jobs in November. Taxable sales and gasoline sales (in gallons) in October climbed by 5.2 and 3.0 percent, respectively, year-over-year. November gaming revenue declined by 2.3 percent compared to a year ago.
For Clark County, mixed signals emerged with the latest data. Seasonally adjusted employment added 1,200 new jobs from October to November. November visitor volume for Clark County continued its year-over-year loss, down by 3.1 percent. This fall probably reflects not only the reduced number of rooms in inventory but also the lingering effect of the October shooting. Nevertheless, total McCarran Airport passengers rose by 1.3 percent during the same period. November gaming revenue fell by 3.2 percent compared to last year as a result of a large 6.0 percent decrease on the Las Vegas Strip. Clark County taxable sales and gasoline sales for October climbed by 2.5 and 2.0 percent, respectively, from a year ago. June residential housing permits gained 11.0 percent year-over-year.
Somewhat more favorable signals were posted for Washoe County. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment lost 1,600 jobs from October to November and only rose by 0.6 percent from last year. October taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties increased by 14.1 percent year-over-year. November gaming revenue and visitor volume were up by 2.0 and 4.2 percent, respectively, from a year ago. Residential housing permits in October rebounded significantly by 62.8 percent from last year, while commercial building permits remained low.