The “first” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2018 increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent, a 0.7 percentage point drop from the “final” estimate of the second quarter, yet a faster-than-expected growth rate for the third quarter. Overall, positive contributions from personal consumption spending, private inventory investment, government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment cause the growth of real GDP. Downturns in net exports and residential fixed investment, however, partly offset these positive effects. Average hourly earnings growth increased in October, 3.1 percent, year-over-year, achieving the record highest after the Great Recession. Retail sales in September continued its robust gain, up by 4.7 percent from last year. Housing starts continued to grow in September, at 3.7 percent year-over-year. The Federal Reserve will continue to raise the interest rates given the strong performance of the economy.
The Nevada economy showed positive economic activity based on the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment gained 2,800 jobs in September.
Clark County exhibited mixed signals in its economic activity. Seasonally adjusted employment gained 3,700 jobs in September. September visitor volume in Clark County dropped, falling by 3.4 percent year-over-year, while Las Vegas hotel and motel occupancy rate declined by 3.7 percent year-over-year. Gross gaming revenue in September gained slightly, 1.4 percent compared to a year ago. Total McCarran Airport passengers slightly fell by 0.3 percent year-over-year. August taxable sales posted a strong year-over-year growth of 6.4 percent, while gasoline sales rose by 1.8 percent from the last year. Residential housing permits/units in September continued yearly losses for the fourth consecutive month, down by 9.1 percent compared to a year ago.
Washoe County also posted generally mixed economic signals. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 300 jobs from August to September, up by 4 percent year-over-year. August taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties lost 6 percent from last year due to the weak performance of Washoe County. September visitor volume fell by 6.1 percent year-over-year, while gross gaming revenue decreased by 1.4 percent during the same period. Total airport passengers exceeded the level from last year by 5.2 percent. Residential housing permits in September showed a year-over-year gain of 11.7 percent.
Stephen M. Miller, Director, Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst, UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research