The “second” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2019 was revised down by a 0.1 percentage point to 3.1 percent at an annualized rate compared to the “advance” estimate. The overall picture of economic growth remained the same. The real GDP growth relied largely on temporary factors such as higher private business inventories and reduced imports. Personal consumption expenditures, private fixed investment and state and local government spending also contributed positively to the real GDP growth. Residential investment and federal government spending contributed negatively. U.S. non-farm employment added a disappointing 75,000 jobs in May. Housing starts posted seven consecutive months of year-over-year losses, while housing prices showed a year-over-year gain, but at a slower pace. The Fed indicated that it will not likely increase the federal fund rate and may consider multiple potential rate cuts this year in response to global economic uncertainty and escalated trade tensions between the United States and China.
The Nevada economy posted somewhat favorable signals with the most recent data releases. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment gained 2,800 jobs in April. The unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent, the lowest level since April 2006. March taxable sales and gasoline sales rose by 4.0 and 2.7 percent, respectively, from last year. April Nevada air passengers climbed by 2.1 percent year-over-year.
Clark County experienced mixed signals in its economic activity relative to last month. The unemployment rate in April ticked down to 4.2 percent, its lowest level since the Great Recession. April visitor volume in Clark County declined slightly by 0.3 percent year-over-year, reflecting a 6.1 percent loss in convention attendance. Gaming revenue also decreased by 2.0 percent during the same period. Total McCarran Airport passengers in April gained 2.3 percent from last year. March taxable sales and gasoline sales experienced year-over-year gains. Residential housing permits/units in April contracted by 17.9 percent year-over-year.
Washoe County also posted generally mixed economic signals. The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.2 percent, its lowest level since April 2000. March taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties fell strongly by 8.5 percent year-over-year due to a significant 55.7 percent decline in Storey County. April visitor volume experienced a third consecutive month of year-over-year losses, down by 3.2 percent. April gaming revenue, however, gained 1.0 percent from last year. April total airport passengers exceeded the level from last year by 3.6 percent.
Stephen M. Miller, Director
Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas or the Nevada System of Higher Education.