The “third” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2021 grew strongly by 6.4 percent at an annual rate, remaining unchanged from the “second” estimate. According to more complete source data, an upward revision in business investment, including inventory investment was offset by a downward revision in net exports. Overall, the strong recovery in the first quarter largely benefited from federal relief money. U.S. nonfarm employment posted a robust gain, adding 850,000 jobs in June. The largest contribution of job gain continued to occur in the leisure and hospitality sector with an additional 343,000 jobs as most of COVID-19 related restrictions eased with high vaccination rates. An unusual addition of 155,200 education jobs contributed to the larger-than-expected gain in June employment. Average hourly earnings continue to rise by 0.3 percent from last month, signaling a continued labor shortage. Although retail sales in May edged down by 1.3 percent from last month, it remained notably above its pre-pandemic peak by 17.7 percent. Housing starts in May rebounded, up by 3.6 percent month-over-month, despite difficulties of soaring building material costs and shortages. The U.S. economy continues to experience a stronger-than-expected recovery, which has resulted in shortages of raw materials as most businesses did not foresee the speed of the recovery.
Nevada’s economic activity posted highly positive signals based on the most recent monthly data. May gaming revenue hit a record high, soaring by 18.3 percent from the previous month. April taxable sales decreased month-over-month but remained a 22.5 percent higher than the level from April 2019.
Clark County also displayed remarkably strong signs in its local economic activity. May gaming revenue marked its highest level of all-time despite visitor volume not recovering fully, probably benefitting from fiscal relief money. May total McCarran Airport passengers and visitor volume saw sharp monthly pick-ups of 21.0 and 11.4 percent, respectively. April taxable sales rose substantially by 18.2 percent from two years ago and skyrocketed by 85.0 percent from last year. Residential housing permits/units in May also climbed strongly by 56.8 percent year-over-year.
Washoe County also exhibited strong signals in its local economic activity. April taxable sales rose strongly by 39.3 percent from April 2019. May gaming revenue also posted a strong gain of 23.1 percent from May 2019. May residential permits/units were up by 42.9 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.