The “advance” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2019 increased modestly, up by 2.1 percent at an annualized rate. The real GDP increase largely reflected strong consumer spending, rising by 4.3 percent, its fastest growth in nearly two years. Government spending also grew at its fastest pace in a decade and contributed positively to real GDP growth. Private inventory investment, net exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment, however, contributed negatively. U.S. nonfarm employment continued to gain significantly, adding 164,000 jobs in July. Average hourly earnings growth in July slightly accelerated to 3.2 percent year-over-year. Housing starts rebounded, showing the strongest year-over-year gain in eight months, up by 6.2 percent. The Fed cut its federal funds rate by a quarter-point in July, the first cut in over a decade, and decided to end the reduction of its $3.8 trillion asset portfolio two months earlier than previously planned. One or more rate cuts will likely occur this year if the trade tensions between the United States and China and global economy uncertainty continue.
The Nevada economy showed generally positive signals with the release of the most recent data. June gaming revenue rebounded strongly after five consecutive months of year-over-year losses, up by 11.6 percent from last year. May taxable sales rose strongly by 7.7 percent from last year. June Nevada air passengers exceeded the level from last year by 3.4 percent.
Clark County experienced positive signals in its economic activity relative to last year, but mixed signals relative to last month. Seasonally adjusted employment lost 3,200 jobs in June. June visitor volume in Clark County climbed slightly by 0.9 percent year-over-year, while gaming revenue increased substantially by 14.6 percent over the same period. Total McCarran Airport passengers in June continued to post a year-over-year gain of 3.2 percent. May taxable sales rose robustly by 10.1 percent from a year ago. Residential housing permits/units in June rebounded strongly by 34.1 percent.
Washoe County posted somewhat negative economic signals. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment gained 300 jobs in June, up by 6.0 percent year-over-year. May taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties, nevertheless, experienced a year-over-year loss of 1.1 percent. June visitor volume experienced a fifth consecutive month of year-over-year losses, down by 8.8 percent. June gaming revenue also declined by 10.1 percent from last year. June total airport passengers, however, increased by 2.1 percent year-over-year.
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.