The “third” estimate of the growth rate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2018 fell by 0.1 percent to an annual rate of 3.4 percent compared to the “second” estimate. The revision reflected smaller-than-expected personal consumption expenditure and net exports, which a larger-than-expected private inventory investment partly offset. U.S. nonfarm employment added a surprising 312,000 jobs in December. As a result, the average monthly job gains in 2018 equaled 220,000, much higher than the 182,000 and 195,000 average job gains from 2017 and 2016, respectively. The Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, indicated that the Fed would move more cautiously with future interest rate hikes due to economic uncertainty. The Fed raised the federal fund rates in December by 25 basis points for the fourth time in 2018 to a target range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent.
The Nevada economy posted highly positive economic activity based on the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment added 5,200 jobs in November. October taxable sales experienced a significant yearly rise of 9.2 percent, and gasoline sales (in gallons) climbed by 1.9 percent during the same period.
Clark County experienced favorable signals in its economic activity compared to last month. Seasonally adjusted employment gained 1,900 jobs in November. November visitor volume in Clark County rose by 4.7 percent year-over-year, largely due to the increased number of convention attendees. November gross gaming revenue climbed robustly by 6.2 percent year-over-year. Total McCarran Airport passengers in November rose by 4.5 percent compared to last year and recorded its busiest November ever. October taxable sales experienced a strong gain of 10.2 percent year-over-year, while gasoline sales increased by 1.3 percent during the same period. Residential housing permits/units in October rebounded significantly, up by 20.4 percent year-over-year after the fourth straight month of year-over-year decreases.
Washoe County posted generally mixed economic signals. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 1,200 jobs from October to November and up by 5.7 percent year-over-year. October taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties rebounded, up by 4.6 percent year-over-year. November visitor volume fell by 4.0 percent compared to last year, while gaming revenue climbed strongly by 9.5 percent over the same period. Total airport passengers exceeded the level from last year by 5.2 percent. Residential housing permits in November experienced a gain of 6.4 percent year-over-year.
Stephen M. Miller, Director
Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research