The “advance” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2021 grew strongly, but lower-than-expected, at an annual rate of 6.5 percent. As a result, the real GDP has now fully recovered from the COVID pandemic recession and surpassed its pre-pandemic peak. The strong growth largely reflected a 11.8 percent surge in consumer spending, which was boosted by significant injections of federal relief money. U.S. nonfarm employment continued to exhibit strong gains, adding 943,000 jobs in July. Retail sales in June posted a surprising monthly gain of 0.6 percent. June personal income also increased by 0.1 percent from last month, driven by increases in wages despite reduced government social benefits. The most recent data indicate that the U.S. economy continues to experience a stronger-than-expected recovery, but economic uncertainty remains due to constrained labor and material supplies, an uptick in inflation and the spread of the Delta variant globally.
Nevada’s economic activity posted highly positive signals based on the most recent monthly data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment added 15,400 jobs in June. Gaming revenue declined by 3.0 percent month-over-month after hitting a record high last month but rose substantially by 14.6 percent from two years ago. May taxable sales slightly fell from last month but remained a 15.9 percent higher than the level from May 2019.
Clark County also displayed robust signs in its local economic activity. Seasonally adjusted employment gained 6,500 jobs in June. The unemployment rate in June, nonetheless, slightly climbed by 0.1 percent to 9.0 percent. June gaming revenue increased significantly by 12.0 percent from June 2019, although June visitor volume still experienced a loss of 20.6 percent over the same period. May taxable sales rose strongly by 12.6 percent from two years ago and skyrocketed by 54.3 percent from last year due to the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. Residential housing permits/units in June also climbed 3.0 and 22.1 percent, respectively, month-over-month and year-over-year.
Washoe County also exhibited strong signals in its local economic activity. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 800 jobs in June, but the unemployment rate remained at 4.8 percent. May taxable sales declined 8.1 percent from last month but gained strongly by 23.0 percent from May 2019. June gaming revenue also posted a strong increase of 26.7 percent from June 2019. June visitor volume recovered strongly, up by 17.1 percent from last month, and only remained 1.5 percent lower than the level from June 2019.
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.