The “third” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2019 remained unchanged, up by 3.1 percent at an annualized rate, from the “second” estimate. U.S. nonfarm employment rebounded sharply after a disappointing gain in May, adding 224,000 jobs in June. Big gains occurred in the professional and business services and healthcare sectors. The employment for April and May, however, was revised down by a combined 11,000 jobs. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent, and average hourly earnings growth in June did not budge from 3.1 percent year-over-year despite a tightening labor market. Retail sales in May gained 3.2 percent year-over-year. Housing starts posted a yearly loss, while home prices still gained from last year, but at a slower pace. The Fed will not likely cut the federal fund rate in the near term amid the robust U.S. economic readings but may cut rates later this year, if the trade tensions between the United States and China and global economy uncertainty continue.
The Nevada economy posted positive signals with the most recent data releases. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment gained 5,900 jobs in May and showed the fastest year-over-year growth among all states.
Clark County experienced somewhat mixed signals in its economic activity relative to last month. Seasonally adjusted employment gained robustly, adding 4,100 jobs in May. May visitor volume in Clark County rebounded after two consecutive year-over-year losses, up by 1.6 percent, partly boosted by a strong gain from convention attendance. May gaming revenue, nonetheless, decreased by 7.6 percent. Total McCarran Airport passengers in May, which hit a record high level, were up strongly by 5.3 percent year-over-year. April taxable sales rose by 6.9 percent year-over-year, while gasoline sales declined by 0.8 percent over the same period. Residential housing permits/units in May continued to decrease by 27.1 percent compared to a year ago.
Washoe County also posted generally mixed economic signals. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 1,900 jobs in May, up a strong 6.2 percent year-over-year. April taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties contracted by 4.9 percent year-over-year due to continued weak activity in Storey County. May visitor volume experienced a fourth consecutive month of year-over-year losses, down by 4.0 percent. May gaming revenue, nevertheless, experienced a year-over-year gain of 2.3 percent. 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.