Latest Las Vegas Metrics

Here are our updated economic stats and graphs for Southern Nevada. Please feel free to share this information — and as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.

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Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming: Recap, slides and pics from our event at Red Rock

Here are the Stat Pack LIVE! slides from our portion of the Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort. The dialogue-driven gathering was sponsored by HighTower Las Vegas, RCG Economics, Bank of George and BOAR Courageous Communities. For a PDF of all the slides from all discussion panels, please email Elizabeth Thompson at e@ethompsonmedia.com. A few photos from our gathering of great minds are provided below for your viewing pleasure, compliments of Las Vegas photographer Daniel Clark:

Stat Pack co-creator and HighTower Las Vegas Partner Mike PeQueen opens the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
Stat Pack co-creator and HighTower Las Vegas Partner Mike PeQueen opens the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

Stat Pack & Nevada Independent Managing Editor and event moderator Elizabeth Thompson and Nevada Independent Editor Jon Ralston on stage talking about the Nevada Legislature and pubic policy related to automation and AI at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
Stat Pack & Nevada Independent Managing Editor and event moderator Elizabeth Thompson and Nevada Independent Editor Jon Ralston on stage talking about the Nevada Legislature and public policy related to automation and AI at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

Event moderator Elizabeth Thompson listens while Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill explains the plans for the subterranean tunnel and public transit system to be engineered by the Boring Co. at the Stat Pack! Live Disruption is Coming Event on June 5, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.
Event moderator Elizabeth Thompson listens while Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill explains the plans for the subterranean tunnel and public transit system to be engineered by the Boring Co. at the Stat Pack! Live Disruption is Coming Event on June 5, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.

UNLV Associate VP of Economic Development Zach Miles explains a new collaborative project afoot at the Harry Reid Research & Technology Park at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
UNLV Associate VP of Economic Development Zach Miles explains a new collaborative project afoot at the Harry Reid Research & Technology Park at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

 
RTC Engineer John Penuelas listens while NDOT Project Manager Jeff Lerud talks about changes along the I-15 corridor including plans for the Tropicana exchange near Raiders Stadium, the new rules of Southern Nevada's HOV lanes and real-time traffic management signs at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
RTC Engineer John Penuelas listens while NDOT Project Manager Jeff Lerud talks about changes along the I-15 corridor including plans for the Tropicana exchange near Raiders Stadium, the new rules of Southern Nevada’s HOV lanes and real-time traffic management signs at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

Attendees of the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas on June 6, 2019 listen while Stat Pack co-publishers — HighTower Partner Mike PeQueen and RCG Economics Principal John Restrepo — talk about the projected division of labor between humans and machines and associated workforce disruptions.
Attendees of the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas on June 6, 2019 listen while Stat Pack co-publishers — HighTower Partner Mike PeQueen and RCG Economics Principal John Restrepo — talk about the projected division of labor between humans and machines and associated workforce disruptions.

Stat Pack co-creator and economist John Restrepo of RCG Economics talks about coming changes in the workforce at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming Event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
Stat Pack co-creator and economist John Restrepo of RCG Economics talks about coming changes in the workforce at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming Event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

Crimson International LMT President Brian Lindsey and BOAR Courageous Communities CEO Virginia Knudsen talk about the future of the U.S. workplace and bridging generation gaps at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming Event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV. BOAR was a sponsor of the event.
Crimson International LMT President Brian Lindsey and BOAR Courageous Communities CEO Virginia Knudsen talk about the future of the U.S. workplace and bridging generation gaps at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming Event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV. BOAR was a sponsor of the event.

A guest captures a photo of a key slide at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
A guest captures a photo of a key slide at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

Bank of George Chairman Ed Nigro talks about disruptions in banking as Bank of George President T. Ryan Sullivan looks on at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
Bank of George Chairman Ed Nigro talks about disruptions in banking as Bank of George President T. Ryan Sullivan looks on at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

 
CDC Gaming Editor and award-winning journalist Howard Stutz talks about automation on the Las Vegas Strip at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
CDC Gaming Editor and award-winning journalist Howard Stutz talks about automation on the Las Vegas Strip at the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

Sponsors and guests mix and mingle before the kickoff of the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
Sponsors and guests mix and mingle before the kickoff of the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is Coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

Major sponsors and co-planners of the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV. From left to right: Bank of George SVP Bart Roberts, Bank of George President T. Ryan Sullivan, Stat Pack Editor and Nevada Independent Managing Editor Elizabeth Thompson, Bank of George Chairman Ed Nigro, Stat Pack Co-publisher and RCG Economics Principal John Restrepo, and Stat Pack Co-publisher and HighTower Las Vegas Partner Mike PeQueen.
Major sponsors and co-planners of the Stat Pack LIVE! Disruption is coming event on June 6, 2019 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV. From left to right: Bank of George SVP Bart Roberts, Bank of George President T. Ryan Sullivan, Stat Pack Editor and Nevada Independent Managing Editor Elizabeth Thompson, Bank of George Chairman Ed Nigro, Stat Pack Co-publisher and RCG Economics Principal John Restrepo, and Stat Pack Co-publisher and HighTower Las Vegas Partner Mike PeQueen.

Again, you can view the Stat Pack slides from the event here. Thanks to all who attended, and we hope to see you next year at our Stat Pack LIVE! 2020 event.

Southern Nevada Metrics

Here are the latest economic stats and graphs for Southern Nevada. Please feel free to share this information — and as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.
 
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Southern NV Metrics

Here are the latest economic stats and graphs for Southern Nevada. Please feel free to share this information — and as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. If you’d like to receive our weekly newsletter, the Fact Pack, on Fridays you can do so in the sign up box on the right side of this page.
 
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job growth 4-11
yoy construction 4-11
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hotel rev 4-11
gaming rev 4-11
home sales 4-11
nominal home 4-11
30 year 4-11
case shiller 4-11
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taxable retail 4-11
weekly earnings 4-11
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pot 4-11

Southern NV Metrics

Here are the latest economic stats and graphs for Southern Nevada. Please feel free to share this information — and as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. If you’d like to receive our weekly newsletter, the Fact Pack, on Fridays you can do so in the sign up box on the right side of this page.
stat highlights

positive

emp index
job growth
yoy construction
visitor volume
convention
hotel rev
gaming rev
home sales
home price
nominal
30 yr fixed
case shiller
housing opp
commercial mtg
taxable retail
weekly earnings
weekly hours
fuel
pot
 

Southern Nevada Economic Metrics

Below are all the latest economic stats and graphs for Southern Nevada. Please feel free to share the graphs and/or reach out to us with questions.
 
stat highlights

positive

emp index
In December 2018 the RCG Employment Index’s 12-month moving average (“12MMA”) remained at 98.8, holding at the strongest 12MMA the Index has measured for the second month in a row. On a YOY basis the Index is up 0.4 points from December 2017.
job growth
The 12MMA of Clark County’s headline unemployment rate held steady in December at 4.8%, after slowly trending downwards for months. That’s also 0.5 points below December 2017’s 5.3% 12MMA. This metric reached its lowest level (4%) more than 11 years ago in October 2006.
The 12MMA rate of job growth in the Las Vegas MSA increased 0.1 points to 3.2% in December. There was also an increase in 12MMA job growth YoY, a 0.3 point rise from December 2017’s 2.9%. The 12MMA job growth rate has now risen for the sixth straight month, a good economic sign.
u3 unemp
The U-3 unemployment rate, or headline rate, for Nevada, continued its downward trend, ticking down another 0.1 points in Q4 to 4.5%. The U-3 rate is now lower than the average rate for 2007 (4.6%), the year the Great Recession hit. Along with this drop in the U-3 rate, the U-6 rate, which measures underemployment, saw a slight increase from 9.4% to 9.5%. Quick note, the U-6 rate has historically been about twice the U-3 rate.
In terms of the U-3 rate, Nevada is still 0.6 points higher than the national average of 3.9%. While the U-6 rate saw some improvement, the national average of 7.6% is still 1.7 points lower than Nevada’s rate.
yoy construction
Construction in the Las Vegas MSA continues to be boosted by a still relatively healthy for-sale and for-rent housing market, improving (particularly industrial) commercial markets, large scale “special use” projects like the Raiders’ stadium and Las Vegas Baseball Park, casino-resort renovations and public infrastructure investments especially transportation projects. This said, 2019 is expected to be a bellwether year.
In December 2018, the number of Southern Nevada construction workers rose by 6,550 (12MMA) from December 2017, an 11.1% jump. On a 12MMA, basis, November’s statewide gains put total construction jobs at 91,658. That marks 78 straight months (more than 6 years) of job growth. President Trump’s uneven approach to trade, including steel tariffs, is affecting the Las Vegas construction industry.
Construction jobs this November represented 6.6% of the region’s job-base. During the real estate bubble of 2000-2007, construction jobs accounted for as much as 11.4% of all MSA jobs, with construction jobs peaking at 108,833 in November 2006.
visitor volume
The Las Vegas MSA’s 12-month visitor count (annualized) in December 2018 was just over 42.1 million. The number of visitors to Clark County grew 0.17% in December, lower than November’s 0.43%. On a YOY basis, this was the 17th consecutive month of annualized visitation decline, though that decline is now under a point: down just 0.2% since December 2017. We believe that the primary reasons for the slowdown are: limited room capacity, the strong dollar making vacationing in the US pricier for foreign visitors, the rising cost of visiting Las Vegas and a move back to the longer trend rate of growth.
There were 42.2 million visitors to the Las Vegas MSA in 2017, compared to 42.9 million in 2016. The total visitor volume in 2018 was 42.1 million.
convention
In December, Clark County’s annualized convention attendance saw a 1.02% decrease from the previous month, dropping to 6.50 million. That’s also 2.5% less than the 12MMT of December 2017 of 6.66 million, which was the annualized peak, though the numbers are trending higher.
Convention attendance saw significant gains in 2016, with 10 months above 10% YOY growth. Through all of 2017 the YOY rate of growth had fallen sharply to 3.9%. Over the course of 2018, attendance grew by an average of 2.0% YOY. Demand growth is being limited by maxed-out capacities at Las Vegas’ various convention facilities. The good news: In June 2017, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s Board of Directors gave final approval for an expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will allow the city to host more conventioneers. The expansion is expected to be completed by 2022.
hotel rev
In December 2018, the 12MMA of hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Clark County was $113.54, a gain of $1.01 (0.9%) from the previous month, the third straight month of growth for the metric. This is a full $.76 above December 2017’s RevPAR, ending 9 straight months of YOY (current month vs. same month in previous year) decline. The RevPAR 12MMA peak of $119.43 occurred in December 2007. This is a metric to definitely watch.
Note: RevPAR is a performance metric in the gaming and lodging industry. It is computed by dividing a resort’s or hotel’s room revenue by the room count and the number of days in the period being measured.
gaming rev
On a 12MMA basis, gaming revenue net of baccarat dollars grew in December 2018 to $753,602,667, a gain of 0.65% from November. The streak of positive YOY growth continues, reaching 47 consecutive months with an increase of 2.4% from December 2017. Net baccarat revenues are over 90% of the October 2007 peak of $834.4 million.
The net baccarat revenues are largely comprised of slot revenues, which generally reflect wagering by typical gamblers, especially U.S. gamblers. While changing spending patterns among millennials have caused a decrease in slot revenues, they are now recovering as US household disposable income has increased.
home sales
Of the 4,953 total Las Vegas MSA home sales recorded by Home Builders Research in December, 4,066 were resales and 887 were new home sales. According to Home Builders Research, total (new and resale) Clark County home closings, on a 12MMA basis, dropped 1.02% in December, compared to the previous month. On a YOY basis, total home sales were 0.4% higher than in December 2017.
The 12MMA for new home sales saw a YOY growth rate of 15.3% in December, while existing home sales saw a decrease for the third straight month, dropping 2.3%.
home price
Per Home Builders Research, December’s 12MMA median home price (new and resale) was $278,986, a 0.90% gain over the previous month. Compared to December 2017, the price is up 14.1%, dropping after three months at the highest point for the metric since September 2014. YOY growth had been rising steadily for 18 months, but is well below the YOY peak of 35.8% recorded in February 2005. The current overall median home price remains well below the February 2007 peak of $305,333. November’s figure is over 91% of the peak price.
The median new home price was up 9.4% from December 2017, setting a new peak for the 20th consecutive month at $375,917. The previous cycle peak of $327,066 occurred in February 2007.
The median resale home price was $257,575 in December, a 14.0% jump from a year earlier. The peak of $286,833 occurred more than 11 years ago in April 2007. The resale average has now recovered more than 89% of its pre-recession peak price.
The combined rate of home appreciation for new and resale homes continued to hold steady in December. The YOY growth had dropped to 6.4% in December 2016 but rose steadily in the 2nd half of 2017, averaging 9.2% YOY growth over the last 6 months of the year. Over the course of 2018, the YOY growth rate averaged 13.6%.
These figures are not inflation-adjusted, or “real.” Therefore, the real value of homes today compared to the pre-recession peak is overestimated.
nominal home sales
This new chart tracks monthly nominal Total Sales Volume (“TSV”) for housing. The data series starts in August 2001 and goes through latest available month. TSV is calculated by multiplying monthly closings by the respective median new, resale and weighted/combined home prices. We’d like to note that the three median home prices are based on monthly moving averages (“12MMA”). This is done to account for seasonality in prices. The TSVs’ 12MMAs in December 2018 were: $334.1 M for new homes, $1,048 M for resales and $1,382 M for the combined total. Clearly, the upward trajectory is quite pronounced especially for resales because of their greater availability, leading to more competitive prices. New home TSV is being affected by rising construction and land costs.
On a percent change basis, December TSVs were up 0.8% for new homes, but dropped by 0.6% for resales and 0.2% for combined. Compared to December 2017, the percent changes in TSVs were 25.9% for new, 11.2% for resales and 14.4% for combined.
As point of reference, the Peak TSVs occurred in July 2006 ($1,043B-new), January 2006 ($1,335B-resales) and March 2006 ($2,326B-combined). Monthly TSVs are now 32.0% of the peaks for new home sales, 78.5% for resales and 59.4% for total combined sales
30 yr fixed
The 12MMA 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the US continues to climb. An increase of 0.04 points in January over the previous month puts the rate at 4.58% (12MMA). This was the 12th consecutive increase in the rate. The 12-year peak of 6.4% happened in October 2006. While the 30-year fixed rate should remain relatively low, it will likely continue to go up because of Federal Reserve actions.
case shiller
The 12MMA Case-Shiller home price index for the Las Vegas MSA rose by 1.7 points to 181.5 in November 2018, growing 12.5% compared to November 2017. The Las Vegas index has risen for 75 straight months, while the YOY growth rate has increased steadily since March 2017. November’s U.S. 12MMA index was up another 0.8 points to 210.8 a jump of 6.0% compared to the previous year.
The Las Vegas index peaked at 233.2 in December 2006, with the latest index reaching 77.8% of that peak. The greatest positive annual change (44.5%) in the Las Vegas index occurred in March 2005, while the greatest negative change (-31.8%) occurred in August 2009. These trends are similar to those reported by Home Builders Research.
taxable retail
November’s taxable retail sales continue to rise in Clark County, with 0.95% growth to $3.66 billion from the month prior. On a YOY basis, growth in the 12MMA increased to 6.4% over November 2017. We believe much of the dollar growth in taxable sales is due to rising credit card usage by local residents, healthy visitor spending numbers and strong construction activity.
The consistent growth of taxable sales has given local and state governments more money to work with. The strength of the overall national economy, and especially in the Western U.S. is key to this improvement. The strengthening national and regionally economies have been the drivers of visitors and convention attendance to Las Vegas during the last few years, which is ultimately reflected in tourism spending. This said, a growing number of analysts are saying that there are signs of an economic slowdown. 2019 will be a telling year.
weekly earnings
The Las Vegas MSA’s 12MMA nominal average weekly earnings (not inflation-adjusted) was up by about $4.20, reaching $807.78 in December 2018. This growth trend began more than 3½ years ago in September 2014. On a YOY basis, the nominal 12MMA was up $28 (3.6%) from December 2017.
When viewed on an inflation-adjusted basis (“real”), however, earnings rose only about $2.50 in December from the month prior, to $675.64 (in 2007 dollars). YOY real earnings rose by 1.1% ($7) compared to November 2017. Moribund real wage growth has received a lot of attention for some time by economists. It is partially a function of a skills gap, the growth of the “gig economy” and ongoing automation trends.
Las Vegas’ average weekly real wage is $75 (9.9%) below the most recent inflation-adjusted peak of $751 that occurred close to 11 years ago in August 2007. The trough occurred in February 2012 at just over $616, so Las Vegas remains closer to the trough than the peak.
weekly hours
The number of average weekly hours worked in Las Vegas (Clark County) on a 12MMA remained at 33.9 in December 2018, the same level recorded for the last two months. Weekly hours had been plodding upward since June 2016, but have flattened in recent months just below the state average. On a YOY basis, average weekly hours are the same as they were in December 2017.
In Q4, 2018, the Nevada U-6 unemployment rate (including discouraged and part-time workers) recorded a 0.1-point drop to 9.3%. While this should suggest that business reliance on part-time workers continues to decrease, the figure is still among the highest in the nation and suggests that a substantial number of new jobs being created are for part-time work, or that positions have been shifted into independent contracting roles. These factors may explain the recent plateau for weekly hours worked even as we reach “full employment.”
fuel
The price of gas in Las Vegas rose slightly over the last month. As of February 4th, 2019, the price of regular unleaded gasoline in the Las Vegas MSA was $2.90, which is $0.03 (1.2%) higher than a month ago. Compared to a year ago, the price of unleaded is up $0.18 or 6.5%.
Gas prices in LA-Long Beach are included in the chart because visitors from the region are a major driver of Las Vegas’ lodging and hospitality industry, specifically, and economy, generally. High gas prices could have a deleterious effect on tourist spending in Las Vegas.
According to AAA, “For most states, gas prices are starting off the first week in February cheaper than the last week in January. On the week, only eight states saw gas prices increase which is a big shift from the week prior that saw increases for 25 states. With the majority of state gas price averages decreasing, the national gas price average held flat at $2.26 even though the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest demand rate reflected summer-like numbers. 
For the week ending Jan 25, the EIA reported U.S. gasoline demand at 9.6 million b/d. The last time the rate was this high was during the 2018 Labor Day weekend. As the EIA rate is an estimate, it’s considered preliminary and the agency may revise it later this year when it releases final figures for the month. If the estimate is not revised, one reason for the jump could be the extreme cold weather seen last week. 
“Three-fourths of the country faced below freezing temperatures last week which may have prompted many motorists, especially in the mid-west, to fill-up early and often ahead of the storm, in turn driving demand. This is similar to what we see prior to hurricanes,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Now that the storm has passed, demand is likely to fall more in-line with typical February estimates.”

Southern Nevada Metrics

Here are the latest economic stats and graphs for Southern Nevada. Please feel free to share this information — and as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with comments or questions.  
stat 1-9

positive 1-9

emp index 1-9
In November 2018 the RCG Employment Index’s 12-month moving average (“12MMA”) remained at 98.8, holding at the strongest 12MMA the Index has measured. On a YOY basis the Index is up 0.4 points from November 2017, though on a MOM basis there was a very slight, 0.2 point, drop from October.
job growth 1-9
The 12MMA of Clark County’s headline unemployment rate dropped slightly in November to 4.8% after a brief pause in October. That’s 0.5 points below November 2018’s 5.3% 12MMA. This metric reached its lowest level (4%) more than 11 years ago in October 2006.
The 12MMA rate of job growth in the Las Vegas MSA increased 0.1 points to 3.1% in November. There was also an increase in YOY job growth from the previous year, a full 1.6 points above November 2017’s 2.2%. The 12MMA job growth rate has now risen for the fifth straight month, a good economic sign.
u6 1-9
The U-3 unemployment rate, or headline rate, for Nevada, continued its downward trend, ticking down another 0.3 points in Q3. The U-3 rate is now exactly the average rate for 2007 (4.6%), the year the Great Recession hit. Along with this drop in the U-3 rate, the U-6 rate, which measures underemployment, had the same 0.3-point decline from 9.7% to 9.4%. Quick note, the U-6 rate has historically been about twice the U-3 rate.
In terms of the U-3 rate, Nevada is tied for the 6th highest U-3 rate in the nation with Arizona and New Mexico. While the U-6 rate saw some improvement, Nevada still holds the 4th highest rate in the country, compared to the #5 spot held by the state last quarter.
yoy construction 1-9
Construction in the Las Vegas MSA continues to be boosted by a still relatively healthy for-sale and for-rent housing market, improving (particularly industrial) commercial markets, large scale “special use” projects like the Raiders’ stadium and Las Vegas Baseball Park, casino-resort renovations and public infrastructure investments especially transportation projects. This said, 2019 is expected to be a bellwether year.
In November 2018, the number of Southern Nevada construction workers rose by 6,600 (12MMA) from November 2017, an 11.2% jump. On a 12MMA, basis, November’s statewide gains put total construction jobs at 90,758. That marks 77 straight months (more than 6 years) of job growth. President Trump’s uneven approach to trade, including steel tariffs, is affecting the Las Vegas construction industry.
Construction jobs this November represented 6.5% of the region’s job-base. During the real estate bubble of 2000-2007, construction jobs accounted for as much as 11.4% of all MSA jobs, with construction jobs peaking at 108,833 in November 2006.
visitor 1-9
The Las Vegas MSA’s 12-month visitor count (annualized) in November 2018 was just over 42 million. The number of visitors to Clark County showed stronger growth in November at 0.43% than October’s 0.18%. On a YOY basis, this was the 16th consecutive month of annualized visitation decline, though that decline is now under a point: down 0.6% since November 2017. We believe that the primary reasons for the slowdown are: limited room capacity, the strong dollar making vacationing in the US pricier for foreign visitors, the rising cost of visiting Las Vegas and a move back to the longer trend rate of growth.
There were 42.2 million visitors to the Las Vegas MSA in 2017, compared to 42.9 million in 2016. Year-to-date visitor volume in November 2018 is 38.9 million. That is slightly down versus the same points in 2016 (39.6 million) and 2017 (39 million). There’s a possibility that strong December numbers will lift 2018 above the previous two years.
convention 1-9
In November, Clark County’s annualized convention attendance saw a 1.3% increase from the previous month, to 6.57 million. That’s over a full point gain from November 2017. Though we still haven’t hit the annualized peak of 6.65 million convention attendees from December 2017, the numbers are climbing higher.
Convention attendance saw significant gains in 2016, with 10 months above 10% YOY growth. Through all of 2017 the YOY rate of growth had fallen sharply to 3.9%. During the first 11 months of 2018, attendance grew by an average of 2.4% YOY. Demand growth is being limited by maxed-out capacities at Las Vegas’ various convention facilities. The good news: In June 2017, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s Board of Directors gave final approval for an expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will allow the city to host more conventioneers. The expansion is expected to be completed by 2022.
hotel rev 1-9
In November 2018, the 12MMA of hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Clark County was $112.53, a gain of $1.12 (1%) from the previous month. Though this is still $.90 below November 2017’s RevPAR, it’s the second straight month of growth for the metric. Conversely, it is also the 9th straight YOY (current month vs. same month in previous year) decline in RevPAR after more than 7 consecutive years of growth. The RevPAR 12MMA peak of $119.43 occurred in December 2007. This is a metric to definitely watch.
Note: RevPAR is a performance metric in the gaming and lodging industry. It is computed by dividing a resort’s or hotel’s room revenue by the room count and the number of days in the period being measured.
gaming rev 1-9
On a 12MMA basis, gaming revenue net of baccarat dollars was up slightly in November to $748,752,333, a gain of 0.17% from October. The streak of positive YOY growth continues, reaching 46 consecutive months with an increase of 2.3% from November 2017. Net baccarat revenues are at almost 90% of the October 2007 peak of $834.4 million.
The net baccarat revenues are largely comprised of slot revenues, which generally reflect wagering by typical gamblers, especially U.S. gamblers. While changing spending patterns among millennials have caused a decrease in slot revenues, they are now recovering as US household disposable income has increased.
home sales 1-9
Of the 4,370 total Las Vegas MSA home sales recorded by Home Builders Research in November, 3,467 were resales and 903 were new home sales. According to Home Builders Research, total (new and resale) Clark County home closings, on a 12MMA basis, dropped 0.49% in November, compared to the previous month. On a YOY basis, total home sales were 1.4% higher than in November 2017.
The 12MMA for new home sales saw a YOY growth rate of 16.5% in November, while existing home sales saw a decrease for the second straight month, dropping 1.3%.
home price 1-9
Per Home Builders Research, November’s 12MMA median home price (new and resale) was $276,508, a .95% gain over the previous month. Compared to November 2017, the price is up 14.6%, continuing a three-month streak of the highest weighted home price YOY growth since September 2014. YOY growth has now been rising steadily for 18 months but is well below the YOY peak of 35.8% recorded in February 2005. The current overall median home price remains well below the February 2007 peak of $305,333. November’s figure is about 90% of the peak price.
The median new home price was up 9.7% from November 2017, setting a new peak for the 20th consecutive month at $373,816. The previous cycle peak of $327,066 occurred in February 2007.
The median resale home price was $255,483 in November, a 14.6% jump from a year earlier. The peak of $286,833 occurred more than 11 years ago in April 2007. The resale average has now recovered more than 89% of its pre-recession peak price.
The combined rate of home appreciation for new and resale homes continued to hold steady in November. YOY growth had dropped to 6.4% in December 2016 but rose steadily in the 2nd half of 2017, averaging 9.2% YOY growth over the last 6 months of the year. Through the first 11 months of 2018, the YOY growth rate has averaged 13.5%.
These figures are not inflation-adjusted, or “real.” Therefore, the real value of homes today compared to the pre-recession peak is overestimated.
nominal 1-9
This new chart tracks monthly nominal Total Sales Volume (“TSV”) for housing. The data series starts in August 2001 and goes through latest available month. TSV is calculated by multiplying monthly closings by the respective median new, resale and weighted/combined home prices. We’d like to note that the three median home prices are based on monthly moving averages (“12MMA”). This is done to account for seasonality in prices. The TSVs’ 12MMAs in November 2018 were: $331.4 M for new homes, $1,054 M for resales and $1,386 M for the combined total. Clearly, the upward trajectory is quite pronounced especially for resales because of their greater availability, leading to more competitive prices. New home TSV is being affected by rising construction and land costs.
On a percent change basis, November TSVs were up 0.9% for new, 0.2% for resales and 0.4% for combined. Compared to November 2017, the percent changes in TSVs were 27.7% for new, 12.9% for resales and 16.1% for combined.
As point of reference, the Peak TSVs occurred in July 2006 ($1,043B-new), January 2006 ($1,335B-resales) and March 2006 ($2,326B-combined). Monthly TSVs are now 31.8% of the peaks for new home sales, 79% for resales and 59.6% for total combined sales.
30 yr mtg 1-9
The 12MMA 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the US continues to climb. An increase of 0.06 points in December over the previous month puts the rate at 4.5% (12MMA). This was the 11th consecutive increase in the rate. The 12-year peak of 6.4% happened in October 2006. While the 30-year fixed rate should remain relatively low, it will likely continue to go up because of Federal Reserve actions.
case shiller 1-9
The 12MMA Case-Shiller home price index for the Las Vegas MSA rose by 1.8 points to 179.8 in October 2018, growing 12.4% compared to October 2017. The Las Vegas index has risen for 74 straight months, while the YOY growth rate has increased steadily since March 2017. October’s U.S. 12MMA index was up another point to 210.0 a jump of 6.1% compared to the previous year.
The Las Vegas index peaked at 233.2 in December 2006, with the latest index reaching 77.1% of that peak. The greatest positive annual change (44.5%) in the Las Vegas index occurred in March 2005, while the greatest negative change (-31.8%) occurred in August 2009. These trends are similar to those reported by Home Builders Research.
housing opp 1-9
On a 4-quarter moving average basis, the Housing Opportunity Index (“HOI”) for the Las Vegas MSA fell for the 7th straight quarter, this time by 2.7 points to 53.7 in Q3 of 2018. Over 6 quarters the Las Vegas HOI has dropped by a whopping 14 points. The Las Vegas HOI peaked at 86.2 in Q1 2012 and bottomed out at 15.4 in Q1 2007 at the height of the housing boom; the average is 72.2 for the last 10 years. Affordable housing is currently on the decline in the Las Vegas MSA.
The U.S. index experienced a decline as well, falling from 59.2 in Q2 2018 to 58.7 in Q3. Housing prices nationally are rising slightly but trending stable.
The HOI is based on the share of homes sold that are affordable to a family earning the median income in the selected jurisdiction, assuming standard mortgage underwriting criteria.
apartment 1-9
The Las Vegas Valley’s 12MMA apartment vacancy rate rose slightly, to 7.7% in Q3 2018. The general trend since 2011 has been down, though apartment vacancy has fluctuated between 7.5% and 7.7% since Q4 2016. The recovery in apartment vacancy has been slow but steady, peaking at 10.8% in Q2 2010, just three years from a low of 5.1% in Q1 2007.
taxable retail 1-9
October’s taxable retail sales continue to rise in Clark County, with 0.79% growth to $3.63 billion from the month prior. On a YOY basis, growth in the 12MMA increased to 5.7% over October 2017. We believe much of the dollar growth in taxable sales is due to rising credit card usage by local residents, healthy visitor spending numbers and strong construction activity.
The consistent growth of taxable sales has given local and state governments more money to work with. The strength of the overall national economy, and especially in the Western U.S. is key to this improvement. The strengthening national and regionally economies have been the drivers of visitors and convention attendance to Las Vegas during the last few years, which is ultimately reflected in tourism spending. This said, a growing number of analysts are saying that there are signs of an economic slowdown. 2019 will be a telling year.
weekly earnings 1-9
The Las Vegas MSA’s 12MMA average weekly earnings (not inflation-adjusted) was up by about $3.50, reaching $803.57 in November 2018. This growth trend began more than 3½ years ago in September 2014. On a YOY basis, the 12MMA was up $25 (3.2%) from November 2017.
When viewed on an inflation-adjusted basis, however, earnings rose only about two dollars in November from the month prior, to $673.15 (in 2007 dollars). YOY real earnings rose by 0.7% ($5) compared to November 2017. Moribund real wage growth has received a lot of attention for some time by economists. It is partially a function of a skills gap, the growth of the “gig economy” and ongoing automation trends.
Las Vegas’ average weekly real wage is $78 (10.3%) below the most recent inflation-adjusted peak of $751 that occurred close to 11 years ago in August 2007. The trough occurred in February 2012 at just over $616, so Las Vegas remains closer to the trough than the peak.
weekly hours 1-9
The number of average weekly hours worked in Las Vegas (Clark County) on a 12MMA remained at 33.9 in November 2018, the same level recorded last month. Weekly hours had been plodding upward since June 2016, but have flattened in recent months just below the state average. On a YOY basis, average weekly hours are up 0.1 hours from November 2017.
In Q3, 2018, the Nevada U-6 unemployment rate (including discouraged and part-time workers) recorded a 0.3-point drop to 9.4%. While this should suggest that business reliance on part-time workers continues to decrease, the figure is still among the highest in the nation and suggests that a substantial number of new jobs being created are for part-time work, or that positions have been shifted into independent contracting roles. These factors may explain the recent plateau for weekly hours worked even as we reach “full employment.”
fuel 1-9
The price of gas in Las Vegas rose slightly over the last month. As of January 2nd 2019, the price of regular unleaded gasoline in the Las Vegas MSA was $2.94, which is $0.19 (0.6%) lower than a month ago. Compared to a year ago, the price of unleaded is up $0.33 or 12.6%.
Gas prices in LA-Long Beach are included in the chart because visitors from the region are a major driver of Las Vegas’ lodging and hospitality industry, specifically, and economy, generally. High gas prices could have a deleterious effect on tourist spending in Las Vegas.
According to AAA, “Heading into 2019, gasoline demand is expected to dwindle during the month of January, an expected change following the busy holiday travel season. At the same time, OPEC will begin production cuts on January 1, with hopes that the shift in global supply will push oil prices higher. The effectiveness of the cuts will likely not be known until later in the first quarter. 
“All eyes are on OPEC to kick off the year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Many are waiting to see if they stick to their promise to cut crude production by 1.2-million b/d and if the proposed cuts will be enough to restore balance to the market.” 
Over the past few years, OPEC and partnering countries have demonstrated a strong resolve to comply with proposed cuts in production. It is likely that the cartel will reconvene in April, and if there is a need to further balance global supply and demand, OPEC will likely tweak current production numbers at that meeting.”
electric 1-9
Electric meter hookups’ 12MMA in October 2018 reached 822,583. Total hookups were up 1.8% from October 2017. Over the last 33 months, the annual growth rate for electric meter hookups has hovered between 1.7% and 1.9%. This hints at stable growth in business and household formation, as well as overall population, in the Las Vegas Valley. The peak YOY growth rate occurred March 1990 at 10.5%.
pot 1-9
Nevada excise tax revenues generated from marijuana sales through the first 16 months of its collection are now over $101 million, with the most recent recorded month, October 2018, seeing a whopping 10.1% increase from the previous month. October brought in about $8.2 million in combined retail and wholesale excise taxes. The most readily available report by the Nevada Department of Taxation accounts for only retail and wholesale excise taxes. These taxes do not include sales and use taxes paid at points of sale in the dispensaries, or the annual licensing fees paid by the industry. The wholesale excise tax is collected at a 15% rate from growers to dispensaries on medicinal- and recreational-use marijuana, while the 10% retail excise tax is charged only to recreational users purchasing marijuana at a dispensary.
According to the Department’s original forecast, tax revenue from the sale of marijuana were expected to reach $120 million in the first 2 years. Collections indicate that the performance is on track to exceed the Department’s forecast.

Las Vegas Economic Metrics

Below are all the latest economic data available for Southern Nevada. Please feel free to share these graphs far and wide — and as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.
 
stat highlights

positive

emp index
In August 2018 the RCG Employment Index’s 12-month moving average (“12MMA”) remained at 98.8, with the previous month’s revised jobs numbers moving up slightly. On a YOY basis the Index is up 0.4 points from August 2017, and it is now just 1.2 points below the November 2006 peak of 100.
job growth
The 12MMA of Clark County’s headline unemployment rate remained steady at 5% in August for the third consecutive month. The 12MMA is 0.4 points below last August’s 5.5%. This metric reached its lowest level more than 11 years ago in October 2006 at just 4%.
The 12MMA rate of job growth in the Las Vegas MSA increased 0.1 points to 2.8% in August. However, YOY job growth is down 0.2 points from the previous month to 3.7%. The 12MMA job growth rate has been on a generally downward trajectory since September 2015. An analysis by the Brookings Institution posits job growth at the regional and national levels has been suffering from the same effect: the slowdown is mainly due to decreasing demand for unskilled labor.
At the same time, the economy continues to strengthen, performing better than some analysts had predicted. While President Trump’s economic policy of deregulation and tax cuts, and his willingness to add to the deficit, may be sustaining the strength of national job growth in the short-term, there are consequences looming down the road and impacts related to the Administration’s implemented and threatened tariffs.
yoy
Construction in the Las Vegas MSA continues to be boosted by a strong housing market and improving (especially industrial) commercial markets. In August 2018, the number of Southern Nevada construction workers rose by 5,992 (12MMA) from August 2017, a 10.4% jump. This was a clear improvement over the previous month’s YOY increase of 9.7%. On a 12MMA, basis, August’s gains put total construction jobs at 63,600. That marks 74 straight months (more than 6 years) of job growth. President Trump’s decision to put tariffs on metals from the E.U., Canada and Mexico, along with industrial equipment from China, are likely to have affect the Las Vegas construction industry.
In August 2018, construction jobs represented 6.7% of the region’s job-base, holding steady from July. During the real estate bubble of 2000-2007, construction jobs accounted for as much as an extraordinary 11.4% of all MSA jobs, with construction jobs peaking at 108,833 in November 2006.
visitor volume
The Las Vegas MSA’s 12-month visitor count (annualized) in August 2018 was 41.9million. The number of visitors to Clark County declined for the third consecutive month, falling by just 0.02% from June. On a YOY basis, this was the 13th consecutive month of annualized visitation decline, down 1.8% compared to August 2017. We believe that the primary reasons for the slowdown are: limited room capacity, the strong dollar making vacationing in the US pricier for foreign visitors, and a move back to the longer trend rate of growth.
There were 42.2 million visitors to the Las Vegas MSA in 2017, compared to 42.9 million in 2016. Year-to-date visitor volume in August 2018 is 28.2 million. That is down versus the same points in 2016 (28.8 million) and 2017 (28.5 million), and it will be difficult for 2018 to match either of the previous two years.
convention
In August, Clark County’s annualized convention attendance saw a 1.2% increase from the previous month, to 6.53 million. That figure represents a 0.5% gain from August 2017. The annualized peak of 6.65 million convention attendees occurred in December 2017.
Convention attendance saw significant gains in 2016, with 10 months above 10% YOY growth. Through all of 2017 the YOY rate of growth had fallen sharply to 3.9%. During the first 8 months of 2018, attendance grew by an average of 3.5% YOY. Demand growth is being limited by maxed-out capacities at Las Vegas’ various convention facilities. The good news: In June 2017, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s Board of Directors gave final approval for an expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will allow the city to host more conventioneers. The expansion is expected to be completed by 2022.
hotel rev
In August 2018, the 12MMA of hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Clark County was $111.62, a loss of $0.09 (0.08%) from the previous month. When compared to August 2017, RevPAR is down even more, falling $2.89 (-2.5%). This is the 6th straight YOY (current month vs. same month in previous year) decline in RevPAR after more than 7 consecutive years of growth. The RevPAR 12MMA peak of $119.43 occurred in December 2007. This a metric to definitely watch.
Note: RevPAR is a performance metric in the gaming and lodging industry. It is computed by dividing a resort’s or hotel’s room revenue by the room count and the number of days in the period being measured.
gaming rev
On a 12MMA basis, gaming revenue net baccarat was down 0.85% in August from the month prior, for a total of $737.4 million. The streak of positive YOY growth continues, reaching 43 consecutive months with an increase of 0.8% from August 2017. Net baccarat revenues are at 88% of the October 2007 peak of $834.4 million.
The net baccarat revenues are largely comprised of slot revenues, which generally reflect wagering by typical gamblers, especially U.S. gamblers. While changing spending patterns among millennials under 35 have caused a decrease in slot revenues, they are now recovering as US household disposable income has increased.
home sales
Of the 5,068 total Las Vegas MSA home sales recorded by Home Builders Research in August, 4,201 were resales, while 867 were new home sales. According to Home Builders Research, total (new and resale) Clark County home closings, on a 12MMA basis, were up 0.22% in August compared to the previous month. On a YOY basis, the number of all home sales were 4.5% higher than in August 2017.
The 12MMA for new home sales saw a YOY growth rate of 17% in August, while existing home sales saw slower growth at 2.3%.
home price
Per Home Builders Research, August’s 12MMA median home price (new and resale) was $268,146, a 1.25% gain over the previous month. Compared to August 2017, the price is up 14.5%, the highest YOY growth in weighted home price since September 2014. The YOY growth rate has now been rising steadily for 15 months, but is well below the YOY peak of 35.8% growth recorded in February 2005. The current median home price remains well below the February 2007 peak of $305,333. August’s figure is about 88% of the peak price.
The median new home price was up 9.9% from August 2017, setting a new peak for the 17th consecutive month at $367,261. The previous cycle peak of $327,066 occurred in February 2007.
The median resale home price was $247,625 in June, a 14.7% jump from a year earlier. The peak of $286,833 occurred more than 11 years ago in April 2007. The resale average has now recovered more than 86% of its pre-recession peak price.
The rate of home appreciation for new and resale homes, combined, continued its rising trend in August. YOY growth had dropped to 6.4% in December 2016 but rose steadily in the 2nd half of 2017, averaging 9.2% YOY growth over the last 6 months of the year. Through the first 8 months of 2018, the YOY growth rate has averaged 13.1%.
These figures are not inflation-adjusted, or “real.” Therefore, the real value of homes today compared to the pre-recession peak is overestimated.
nominal
Starting this month, RCG is adding new housing chart to its monthly Stat Pack line-up for Las Vegas. Our new chart tracks monthly Total Sales Volume (“TSV”). The data series starts in August 2001 goes through latest available month. TSV is calculated by multiplying monthly closings by the median new, resale and weighted/combined home prices. We’d like to note that the three median home prices are based on monthly moving averages (“12MMA”). This is done to account for seasonality in prices. The TSVs’ 12MMAs in August 2018 were: $318.7 M for new homes, $1,045 M for resales and $1,364 M for the combined total. Clearly, the upward trajectory is quite pronounced especially for resales, because of their greater availability, leading to more competitive prices. New home TSVs are being affected by rising construction and land costs.
The August TSV percent changes from the previous month were 2.4% for new, 1.4% for resales and 1.6 % for combined. Compared to August, 2017, the percent changes in TSVs were 28.8% for new, 17.1% for resales and 19.7% for combined.
As point of reference, the Peak TSVs occurred in July, 2016 ($1,043B-new), January, 20016 $1,225-resales) and March, 2006 ($2,326-combined). Monthly TSVs are now 31% of the peaks for new home sales, 78% for resales and 59% for total combined sales.
case shiller
The 12MMA Case-Shiller home price index for the Las Vegas MSA rose by 1.8 points to 174.2 in July 2018, growing 11.4% compared to July 2017. The Las Vegas index has risen for 71 straight months, while the YOY growth rate has increased steadily since March 2017. July’s U.S. 12MMA index was up another point to 207.3, a jump of 6.3% compared to the previous year.
The Las Vegas index peaked at 233.2 in December 2006, with the latest index reaching 74.7% of that peak. The greatest positive annual change (44.5%) in the Las Vegas index occurred in March 2005, while the greatest negative change (-31.8%) occurred in August 2009. These trends are similar to those reported by Home Builders Research.
commercial mtg
As we wrap up the third quarter of 2018, the 30-day LIBOR moved moderately higher during September, finishing the month up 20 basis points from August at 2.27%. The 10-year U.S. Treasury jumped 30 basis points from 2.88% to 3.18%. The S&P 500 posted its best quarter (up 7.2%) since 2013. Health care was the top-performing sector of Q3, surging 14.1%, its highest quarterly gain since the first quarter of 2013. Industrials and tech, during the same period, rose 9.7% and 8.5%. Meanwhile the Fed raised rates from 2.00% to 2.25% and has penciled in 75 basis points of rate increases during the next 9 months.
The cost to borrow funds has already begun to creep up, with more forecasted rate increases on the horizon. If your property is stabilized, lock in long-term, fixed-rate loans now.
taxable retail
July’s taxable retail sales continue to rise in Clark County, with 0.69% growth to $3.57 billion from the month prior. On a YOY basis, growth in the 12MMA increased to 4.6% in May. We believe much of the dollar growth in taxable sales is due to healthy visitor spending numbers and strong construction activity.
The consistent growth of taxable sales has given local and state governments more money to work with. The strength of the national economy, especially the Western U.S. is key to this improvement. This strength is the driver of visitors and convention attendance to Las Vegas, which is ultimately reflected in tourism spending. We appear to have settled into a longer-term annual trend rate of growth of around 3-4%.
weekly earnings
The Las Vegas MSA’s 12MMA average weekly earnings (not inflation-adjusted) was up by about $3, reaching $797 in August 2018. This growth trend began more than 3½ years ago in September 2014. On a YOY basis, the 12MMA was up $30 (3.5%) from August 2017.
When viewed on an inflation-adjusted basis, however, earnings rose only a dollar in August from the month prior, to $671.53 (in 2007 dollars). YOY real earnings rose by 1.1% ($7) compared to August 2017. Moribund wage growth has received a lot of attention for some time by economists. It is partially a function of the growth of the “gig economy” and ongoing automation trends.
Las Vegas’ average weekly real wage is $80 (11%) below the most recent inflation-adjusted peak of $751 that occurred close to 11 years ago in August 2007. The trough occurred in February 2012 at just over $616, so Las Vegas remains closer to the trough than the peak.
weekly hours
The number of average weekly hours worked in Las Vegas (Clark County) on a 12MMA remained at 33.9 in August 2018, the same level recorded for the last three months. Weekly hours had been plodding upward since June 2016, but have flattened in recent months just below the state average. On a YOY basis, average weekly hours are up 0.2 hours from August 2017.
In Q2, 2018, the Nevada U-6 unemployment rate (including discouraged and part-time workers) recorded a 0.7-point drop to 9.7%. While this should suggest that business reliance on part-time workers continues to decrease, the figure is still among the highest in the nation and suggests that a substantial number of new jobs being created are for part-time work, or that positions have been shifted into independent contracting roles. These factors may explain the recent plateau for weekly hours worked even as we reach “full employment.”
fuel
The price of gas in Las Vegas rose slightly over the last month. As of October 4, the price of regular unleaded gasoline in the Las Vegas MSA was $3.21, which is $0.8 (2.7%) higher than a month ago. Compared to a year ago, the price of unleaded is up $0.51 or 19%.
Gas prices in LA-Long Beach are included in the chart because visitors from the region are a major driver of Las Vegas’ lodging and hospitality industry, specifically, and economy, generally. High gas prices could have a deleterious effect on tourist spending in Las Vegas.
According to AAA, “The September switch-over to winter-blend gasoline ushered in cheaper gas prices compared to the summer, but that drop was short lived. Crude oil accounts for half of the retail pump price and crude is selling at some of the highest price points in four years. That means fall and year-end prices are going to be unseasonably expensive. 
Motorists in the West Coast region are paying the highest prices for retail gasoline in the country, with six of the region’s states represented in the nation’s top 10 most expensive list. Hawaii ($3.84) is the nation’s most expensive market, followed by California ($3.80), Washington ($3.44), Alaska ($3.33), Oregon ($3.29), Nevada ($3.27), and Arizona ($2.91). All prices in the region have increased on the week, with California (+7 cents) leading the way. Nevada increased five cents, while Hawaii and Washington each increased four cents. 
The EIA’s weekly petroleum status report showed West Coast gasoline stocks increased slightly to 27.89 million bbl during the week that ended on September 28. Stocks are approximately 760,000 bbl lower than where they were at this time last year, which could lead to price volatility if there are any supply shocks in the region this week.”

Stat Update: Southern Nevada Economic Metrics

The U-3 unemployment rate, or “headline rate”, after ticking up 0.1 points in Q1 2018, dipped by 0.2 points in Q2. The rate is now 0.3 points above the average rate for 2007 (4.6 percent), the year the Great Recession hit. The U-6 rate, which measures under-employment, saw a 0.7-point decline from 10.4 percent to 9.7 percent, which is still the 5th highest in the country. Employer reliance on part-time workers explains the rate, in part.
For all the latest metrics, scroll down. As always, feel free to send questions to RCG Economics Principal John Restrepo at jrestrepo@rcg1.com. 
stat highlights

positive

1
In June 2018 the RCG Employment Index’s 12-month moving average (“12MMA”) remained at 98.7, taking a step it had not made for 4 straight months and impelled by May’s impressive Las Vegas MSA job numbers. On a YOY basis the Index is up 0.4 points from April 2017. The Index is now just 1.3 points below the November 2006 peak of 100.
2
The 12MMA of Clark County’s headline unemployment rate was 5% in June, another drop of 0.1 points following May. The 12MMA is 0.5 points below last June’s 5.5%. This metric reached its lowest level more than 11 years ago in October 2006 at just 4%. Southern Nevada is now theoretically at “full employment.” Strong federal job numbers had foreshadowed June’s continued decline in unemployment for the Las Vegas MSA.
In June the 12MMA rate of job growth in the Las Vegas MSA held at 2.6% for the 4th consecutive month. YOY job growth is up by 0.1 points from May to an even 3%. The 12MMA job growth rate has been on a downward trajectory since September 2015. Analysis by the Brookings Institution posits job growth at the regional and national levels has been suffering from the same effect: the slowdown is mainly due to decreasing demand for unskilled labor. At the same time, the economy continues to strengthen, performing better than some analysts had predicted. While President Trump’s economic policy of deregulation and tax cuts, and his willingness to add to the deficit, may be sustaining the strength of national job growth in the short-term, there are consequences looming down the road. Also, it will take some time to see the full impact of the Administration’s implemented and threatened tariffs.
3
The U-3 unemployment rate, or headline rate, for Nevada, after ticking up 0.1 points in Q1 2018, moved back down by 0.2 points in Q2. The U-3 rate is now 0.3 points above the average rate for 2007 (4.6%), the year the Great Recession hit. Along with this drop in the U-3 rate, the U-6 rate, which measures underemployment, had a 0.7-point decline from 10.4% to 9.7%.
In terms of the U-3 rate, Nevada fell one spot to have the 6th highest headline rate in the nation. While the U-6 rate saw strong improvement, Nevada still holds the 5th highest rate in the country, falling from 3rd-highest in the previous quarter. Nevada businesses maintain a significant reliance on part-time workers.
yoy construction
Construction in the Las Vegas MSA continues to be boosted by a strong housing market and improving commercial markets. In June 2018, the number of Southern Nevada construction workers rose by 5,042 (12MMA) from June 2017, an 8.8% increase. This was a slight improvement over the previous month’s YOY increase of 8.7%. June’s gains put total construction jobs at 62,058. That marks 72 straight months (or 6 years) of construction job growth. President Trump’s decision to put tariffs on metals from the E.U., Canada and Mexico, along with industrial equipment from China, are likely to have an impact on the Las Vegas construction industry.
In June 2018, construction jobs represented 6.5% of the region’s job-base, an increase of 0.3 points from the previous month and recovery of most of the May’s decline. During the real estate bubble of 2000-2007, construction jobs accounted for as much as an extraordinary 11.4% of all MSA jobs, with construction jobs peaking at 108,833 in November 2006.
visitor volume
The Las Vegas MSA’s 12-month visitor count (annualized) in June 2018 was 42 million. The number of visitors to Clark County declined again after just 2 months of gains. The decrease in June from the previous month was 0.7%. On a YOY basis, this was the 11th consecutive month of annualized visitation decline, down 1.7% when compared to June 2017. We believe that the primary reasons for the slowdown are: limited room capacity, the strong dollar making vacationing in the US pricier for foreign visitors, and a move back to the longer trend rate of growth.
There were 42.2 million visitors to the Las Vegas MSA in 2017, compared to 42.9 million in 2016. Year-to-date visitor volume in June 2018 is 21.0 million. That is lower than the same points in 2016 (21.3 million) and 2017 (21.2 million), and if trends continue it will be difficult for 2018 to match either of the previous two years.
6
In June, Clark County’s annualized convention attendance saw a 0.22% increase from the previous month, at 6.55 million. While there has been more monthly volatility in 2018, annualized convention attendance is still up 3.7% compared to June 2017. The annualized peak of 6.65 million convention attendees occurred in December 2017.
Convention attendance saw significant gains in 2016, with 10 months above 10% YOY growth. Through all of 2017 the YOY rate of growth had fallen sharply to 3.9%. During the first 6 months of 2018, attendance grew by an average of 4.7% YOY. Demand growth is being limited by maxed-out capacities at Las Vegas’ various convention facilities. The good news: In June 2017, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s Board of Directors gave final approval for an expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will allow the city to host more conventioneers. The expansion is expected to be completed by 2022.
7
In June 2018, the 12MMA of hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Clark County was $113.35, a loss of $0.58 (0.51%) from the previous month. When compared to June 2017, RevPAR is down even more, falling $1.45 (-1.3%). This is the 4th straight YOY decline in RevPAR after more than 7 consecutive years of growth. The RevPAR 12MMA peak of $119.43 occurred in December 2007. This a metric to definitely watch.
Note: RevPAR is a performance metric in the gaming and lodging industry. It is computed by dividing a resort’s or hotel’s room revenue by the room count and the number of days in the period being measured.
8
On a 12MMA basis, net baccarat revenue was up 0.22% in June from the last month, for a total of $742.9 million. The streak of positive YOY growth was continues, reaching 41 consecutive months with an increase of 2.8% from June 2017. Net baccarat revenues are at 89% of the October 2007 peak of $834.4 million.
The net baccarat revenues are largely comprised of slot revenues, which generally reflect wagering by typical gamblers, especially U.S. gamblers. While changing spending patterns among millennials under 35 have caused a decrease in slot revenues, they are now recovering as US household disposable income has increased.
9
Of the 5,011 total Las Vegas MSA home sales in June, 4,168 were resales, while 843 were new home sales. According to Home Builders Research, in June, total (new and resales) Clark County home closings, on a 12MMA basis, were down -0.38% from the previous month. On a YOY basis, total home sales were 5.4% higher than in June 2017.
The 12MMA for new home sales saw a YOY growth rate of 15.7% in May. Existing home sales saw slower growth in June at 3.6%.
10
Per Home Builders Research, June’s 12MMA median home price (new and resale) was $262,245, a 1.1% gain over the previous month. Compared to June 2017, the price is up 14%, the highest YOY growth in weighted home price since September 2014. The YOY growth rate has now been rising steadily for 13 months, but is well below the YOY peak of 35.8% growth in February 2005. The current median home price remains well below the February 2007 peak of $305,333. June’s figure is about 86% of the peak price.
The median new home price was up 8.8% from June 2017, marking 15 consecutive months of setting new records with a new peak of $359,377. The previous cycle peak of $327,066 occurred in February 2007.
The median resale home price was $242,458 in June, a 14.5% jump from a year earlier. The peak of $286,833 occurred more than 11 years ago in April 2007. The resale average has now recovered 84.5% of its pre-recession peak price.
The rate of home appreciation for new and resale homes, combined, continued its rising trend in May. YOY growth had dropped to 6.4% in December 2016 but rose steadily in the 2nd half of 2017, averaging 9.2% YOY growth over the last 6 months of the year. Through the first 6 months of 2018, the YOY growth rate has averaged is 12.7%.
11
The 12MMA 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the Western Region continues to climb. An increase of 0.04 points in July puts the rate at 4.2% (12MMA). This was the 6th consecutive increase in the rate. The 12-year peak of 6.4% happened in October 2006. While the 30-year fixed rate should remain relatively low, it will likely continue to go up because of Federal Reserve actions.
12
The 12MMA Case-Shiller home price index for the Las Vegas MSA crossed 170 in May 2018, a rise of 10.1% compared to May 2017. The Las Vegas index has risen for 69 straight months, while the YOY growth rate has grown steadily since March 2017. The US index in May was up another 1.1 points to 205.3, an increase of 6% compared to the previous year. Both indexes have been on the rise since 2012.
The Las Vegas index peaked at 233.2 in December 2006, with the latest figure at index is 73% of that peak. The greatest positive annual change (44.5%) in the Las Vegas index occurred in March 2005, while the greatest negative change (-31.8%) occurred in August 2009. These trends are similar to those reported by Home Builders Research.
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On a 4-quarter moving average basis, the Housing Opportunity Index (“HOI”) for the Las Vegas MSA fell for the 6th straight quarter, this time by a whopping 4.1 points to 56.4 in Q2 of 2018. Over 6 quarters the Las Vegas HOI has dropped by a total of 11.3 points. The Las Vegas HOI peaked at 86.2 in Q1 2012 and bottomed out at 15.4 in Q1 2007 at the height of the housing boom; the average is 71.8 for the last 10 years. Affordable housing is currently on the decline in the Las Vegas MSA.
The U.S. index experienced a decline as well, falling from 59.7 in Q1 2018 to 59.2 in Q2. Housing prices nationally are rising slightly but trending stable.
The HOI is based on the share of homes sold that are affordable to a family earning the median income in the selected jurisdiction, assuming standard mortgage underwriting criteria.
apartment market
The Las Vegas Valley’s 12MMA apartment vacancy rate fell slightly up to 7.5% in Q2 2018. The general trend since 2011 has been down, though apartment vacancy has fluctuated between 7.5% and 7.7% since Q4 2016. The recovery in apartment vacancy has been slow, peaking at 10.8% in Q2, 2010 just three years from a low of 5.1% in Q1, 2007.
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The 10-year U.S. Treasury moved moderately higher during July, finishing the month up 12 basis points from June at 2.98%. The 30-Day LIBOR did not track with the Treasury, decreasing slightly by 3 basis points to 2.07%. The Federal Reserve upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy, but left interest rates unchanged for now. The committee is widely expected to approve two additional rate increases this year. There were many potential market moving events in July, including ongoing threats from the President to impose $505 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports and Facebook posting the largest one-day market value decrease by any company in U.S. stock market history. Despite these events, the S&P 500 closed out July with solid gains.
As interest rates creep up to and past 3%, investors are feeling pressured to secure long-term, fixed rate loans on their commercial properties.
taxable retail
Taxable retail sales continue to rise in Clark County, with 0.46% growth to $3.52 billion from April to May. On a YOY basis, growth in the 12MMA remained at 3.6% in May. We believe much of the dollar growth in taxable sales is due to healthy visitor spending numbers and strong construction activity.
The consistent growth of taxable sales has given the local and state government more money to work with. The strength of the national economy and its local and regional markets are key to this improvement. These larger economies are the primary drivers of visitors and convention attendance to Las Vegas, which is ultimately reflected in tourism spending in the region. We appear to have settled into a longer-term rate trend of around 3-4% sales growth per year.
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The number of average weekly hours worked in Las Vegas (Clark County) on a 12MMA remained at 33.9 in June 2018, the same level recorded in May. Weekly hours had been plodding upward since June 2016, but fell last month. On a YOY basis, average weekly hours are up 0.4 hours from June 2017.
In Q2, 2018, the U-6 unemployment rate (including discouraged and part-time workers) recorded a 0.7-point drop. While this should suggest that business reliance on part-time workers continues to decrease, the figure is still among the highest in the nation and suggests that a substantial number of new jobs being created are for part-time work, or that positions have been shifted into independent contracting roles. These factors may explain the recent plateau for weekly hours worked even as we reach “full employment.”
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The price of gas in Las Vegas had been rising steadily for months but now appears to be on the decline. As of August 13, the price of regular unleaded gasoline in the Las Vegas MSA was $3.13, which is $0.6 (-2.9%) lower than a month ago. Still, when compared to a year ago, the price of unleaded is up $0.56.
Gas prices in LA-Long Beach are included in the chart because visitors from the region are a major driver of Las Vegas’ lodging and hospitality industry, specifically, and economy, generally. High gas prices could have a deleterious effect on tourist spending in Las Vegas.
According to AAA, “The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest reports detail a drop in consumer gasoline demand and a build in gasoline inventories. In fact, this was the first increase in inventories in six-weeks with a substantial addition of 3 million bbl. With a flat national average, U.S. gasoline supply and demand suggest they are balancing. But that’s not to say that we could not see spikes in demand closer to Labor Day as motorists squeeze in those final road trips. 
Pump prices in states in the West Coast region are among the highest in the country: Hawaii ($3.76), California ($3.61), Washington ($3.39), Alaska ($3.36), Oregon ($3.27), Nevada ($3.19) and Arizona ($2.89). When compared to last week, all pump prices in the region are down. Arizona (-2 cents) saw the largest drop. 
According to EIA’s petroleum status report for the week ending on August 3, inventories of gasoline in the region grew by 200,000 bbl. They now sit at 30.4 million bbl, which is nearly four million bbl higher than total levels at this time last year. Growing supplies will provide a cushion for price fluctuations, which could help pump prices stabilize if there are any shocks to regional supply this week.”
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Electric meter hookups’ 12MMA in June 2018 reached 817,359. Total hookups were up 1.8% from June 2017. Over the last 33 months, the annual growth rate for electric meter hookups has hovered between 1.7% and 1.9%. This hints at stable growth in business and household formation, as well as overall population, in the Las Vegas Valley. The peak YOY growth rate occurred March 1990 at 10.5%.
emp permit
A well-known housing market indicator is the employment-to-housing permit ratio, or E-P Ratio. It compares monthly job growth to the number of housing permits issued during the same month. The 12MMA for Clark County’s E-P Ratio remained flat at 1.3 in June May. Relative to June 2017, the E-P Ratio is down 0.3 points from 1.6.
The general consensus among real estate analysts is that an E-P Ratio between 1.0 and 2.0 indicates a stable market. Clark County’s E-P Ratio has been in this range for nearly 2 years, since October 2016.
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Nevada excise tax revenues generated from marijuana sales through the first 11 months are $62.6 million, with the most recent recorded month, May 2018, seeing a 8.6% increase in revenue from the previous month. May brought in about $7.1 million in combined retail and wholesale taxes, compared to $6.5 million in March. The most readily available report by the Nevada Department of Taxation contains retail and wholesale excise taxes. These taxes do not include sales and use taxes paid at points of sale in the dispensaries, or the annual licensing fees paid by the industry. The wholesale excise tax is collected at a 15% rate from growers to dispensaries on medicinal- and recreational-use marijuana, while the 10% retail excise tax is charged only to recreational users purchasing marijuana at a dispensary.
According to the Department, tax revenue from the sale of marijuana is expected to reach $120 million in the first 2 years. Collections over the first 11 months indicate that the performance may slightly exceed the Department’s forecast.