The “second” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 plunged by 31.7 percent at an annual rate, slightly better than the advance estimate of a 32.9 percent annual contraction. The upward revision reflected smaller declines in private inventory investment and personal consumption expenditure than previously thought. Overall, the coronavirus caused the worst-ever contraction in real GDP as states imposed strict measures such as “stay-at-home” orders to contain the virus.
Nevada continued to pick-up its economic activity based on the most recent monthly data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment gained 14,800 jobs in July. Gaming revenue in July posted a strong monthly gain of 33.5 percent but remained 26.2 percent lower than last year’s level. July air passengers, however, saw a slower recovery compared to gaming revenue, with a 64.5 percent year-over-year loss. June taxable sales posted stronger-than-expected performance, down by 6 percent from last year, as all the countries except for Clark, Lander, and Lyon experienced year-over-year increases.
Clark County continued to post unfavorable signals in local economic activity based on annual data despite a strong monthly pick-up. Seasonally adjusted employment added 12,000 jobs in July. Notable job gains occurred in trade, transportation, and utilities, education and health services, and professional and business services. The unemployment rate in July declined to 16.3 percent but continued to remain the highest when compared to other counties in Nevada. Total McCarran Airport passengers and visitor volume in July still displayed substantial year-over-year losses of 64 and 61.4 percent, respectively, despite the resumption of casino operations. July gaming revenue also continued to show a double-digit decrease of 28.9 percent from last year. June taxable sales contracted by 13.3 percent compared to a year ago. Residential housing permits/units in July posted a year-overyear decrease of 14.3 percent.
Washoe County exhibited a stronger monthly and annual pick-up in local economic activity compared to Clark County, benefitting from its more diversified economy. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment gained 1,500 jobs in July and remained only 6.6 percent lower than the previous year. The unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent. June taxable sales surprisingly surged by 15.0 percent from last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while gasoline sales (in gallons) fell by 9.0 percent during the same period. July residential housing permits/units also gained strongly by 27.2 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.