The “third” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2021 expanded 6.7 percent at an annual rate. The strong growth in the second quarter largely reflected a strong surge in consumer spending, which was boosted by significant injections of federal relief money. U.S. nonfarm employment showed a disappointing gain, adding only 194,000 jobs in September. The largest job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, adding 74,000 jobs. Government education employment posted the largest loss, down by 161,000, as the COVID-19 pandemic distorted the normal seasonal buildup and layoff patterns. Retail sales in August posted a surprising gain of 0.7 percent month-over-month, despite a sharp drop of 10.7 percent in auto and truck sales. Retail sales for non-store retailers jumped by 5.3 percent over the same period, implying a change of consumer behavior. The Federal Reserve, nonetheless, expects to begin tapering in the end of 2021 and slowly raising rates beginning in 2022.
Seasonally adjusted, statewide employment added 11,900 jobs in August. The leisure and hospitality sector added 3,900 jobs despite a decrease in the number of tourists from last month. August gaming revenue plummeted by 14.3 percent from last month but increased strongly by 22.2 percent from two years ago. July taxable sales also experienced a month-over-month decrease but remained significantly higher by 24.5 percent from its level two years ago.
Clark County, seasonally adjusted, employment gained 7,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate in August also dropped by 1 percent to 8 percent. August gaming revenue plummeted by 14.6 percent month-over-month as the number of visitors to Clark County decreased by 9.6 percent. August gaming revenue, nonetheless, soared by 25.3 percent from August 2019, while visitor volume continued to remain 19.4 percent lower than two years ago. August total McCarran Airport passengers also experienced a large month-over-month loss of 8.3 percent. July taxable sales also declined month-over-month but rose strongly by 24.2 percent from July 2019 after hitting its record high last month. August residential permits climbed by 50.1 percent year-over-year.
The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment added 900 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percent to 4.8 percent. July taxable sales experienced a monthly loss of 12.0 percent but increased by a substantial 31.3 percent from two years ago. August gaming revenue and visitor volume decreased by 9.5 and 5.0 percent, respectively, from last month. August residential permits rose by 26.7 percent from last 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.