The “third” estimate for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2018 expanded at a 2.0 percent annualized rate, revised down from the second estimate of 2.2 percent. The downward revisions mainly reflected smaller-than-expected private inventory investment and personal consumption expenditure. U.S. nonfarm employment continued its surprising gain by adding 213,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate, nevertheless, ticked up to 4.0 from 3.8 percent, signaling that some discouraged workers returned to the labor force. Retail sales in May experienced a robust rise, up by 0.8 and 5.9 percent, respectively, month-over-month and year-over-year. May housing starts hit its highest level since the Great Recession, up by 20.3 percent compared to last year. Recent strong economic indicators may lead the Federal Reserve to engineer four interest rate hikes in 2018.
The Nevada economy posted generally robust economic activity based on the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment lost 700 jobs in May, but increased by 2.8 percent year-over-year, the fifth fastest yearly growth after Utah, Idaho, Texas, and Washington. Taxable sales and gasoline sales (in gallons) in April rose by 8.6 and 3.4 percent, respectively, from a year ago. May gaming revenue experienced a gain, up by 5.3 percent year-over-year. Total air passengers rose by 4.0 percent year-over-year.
Clark County experienced generally positive signals in local economic activity. The unemployment rate dropped significantly to 4.7 percent, the lowest level since the Great Recession. May visitor volume to Clark County rebounded, up by 0.7 percent year-over-year, ending the 11 consecutive months of yearly losses. In addition, total McCarran Airport passengers reached its highest level in May, up by 3.6 percent compared to last year. Gaming revenue continued its strong year-over-year gains, climbing by 5.1 percent. Clark County taxable sales in April experienced a strong year-over-year gain of 8.2 percent, and gasoline sales for April rose by 3.3 percent from last year. Residential housing permits/units increased robustly by 15.2 percent year-over-year.
Washoe County also posted favorable economic signals. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, the lowest level since July 2000. April taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties rose by 5.0 percent year-over-year. May visitor volume and total airport passengers were up by 2.7 and 8.7 percent, respectively, compared to last year. Residential housing permits in May experienced a year-over-year loss, decreasing by 23.0 percent due to reduced activity in Sparks.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst, UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research