Reno Ecomomic Metrics Continue to Trend Upward

    The RCG Economics Employment Index 12-month moving average (12MMA) for Reno-Sparks was up 1.2 points in November 2015 over the year prior and is now just two points off its 2008 peak. The 12MMA of the headline unemployment rate again fell by 0.1 points to 5.2% in November. And Washoe County’s 12MMA YOY gross gaming revenue has improved for 23 consecutive months with growth in November of 3.2%. Not enough positive trending metrics for you? Taxable sales is up, too. Reno-sparks is looking good.



    employment index

    The RCG Employment Index 12-month moving average (“12MMA”) for Reno-Sparks ticked up by 0.2 points in November and was up 1.2 points from the 96.9 recorded in November 2015. The Index is now less than 2 points off from the peak. We expect the general upward trend will continue, maintaining the trajectory that started in 2011. The index peaked at 99.8 in December 2008 and the trough of 89.6 occurred in January 2010.

    job growth

    Reno-Sparks job growth on a 12MMA in November fell to 4%. The rate of growth is up 0.2 points from November 2015, when it was recorded at 3.8%. The lowest rate of growth in the last 10 years occurred in December 2009 (-9.3%). The region has surpassed its previous high mark of 3.7% achieved in December 2006.

    Additionally, the 12MMA of the headline unemployment rate again fell by 0.1 points to 5.2% in November. When compared to the November 2015 headline unemployment rate of 6.4%, this November’s rate was 1.2 percentage-points lower. The unemployment rate continues to improve steadily and is approaching rates seen before the Great Recession.


    On a 12MMA basis, construction jobs in the Reno-Sparks MSA rose to 13,900 in November, up 8.7% from the 12,792 jobs recorded in November 2015. The latest stats show that 6.6% of the region’s job-base was in Construction. Construction jobs in the Reno-Sparks MSA peaked at 24,042 in August 2006 on a 12MMA basis. At that time, the industry accounted for 11.1% of all jobs. The Construction sector continues to recover since it bottoming out in February 2012 when there were only 8,792 construction jobs.

    visitor volume

    The 12MMA visitor total for Reno-Sparks rose 3.8% YOY to 407,970 in November 2016, though this was only a 0.56% increase from October. When compared to Las Vegas, visitation to the Reno market continues lagging. However, the region has now seen 23 straight months of YOY growth in visitor volume at an average rate of 2.2%. The 12MMA peak occurred in May 2004, when 467,904 visitors came to Washoe County. The highest annual growth rate occurred in January 2013, when visitor volume grew 5.8%. The Reno-Sparks hospitality industry continues to face challenges.

    gross gaming

    Washoe County’s 12MMA YOY gross gaming revenue has improved for 23 consecutive months with growth in November of 3.2%, bringing total revenue up to $66.8 million.

    Gaming revenues peaked in June 2006 at $89.4 million. On an annual growth rate basis, growth peaked at 5.5% in June 2006.

    taxable retail

    Like Clark County, taxable retail sales in Washoe County have been consistently growing, reaching $643.9 million in October, a 9.8% jump compared to October 2015, on a 12MMA basis. This represents over 5 years of rising retail sales on a YOY basis. Sales have surpassed their previous peak on a nominal basis (not inflation-adjusted). As the chart shows, Washoe’s taxable sales growth in October was beating the state average by a 4.7 percentage-point margin.

    sf home resales

    MLS home resales in the Reno-Sparks area increased to 541 units in November on a 12MMA basis. After reaching record-high territory, home sales now appear to have leveled off. The median sales price rose to $303,075 (12MMA) in November, a 9.1% jump from November 2015. By comparison, the Las Vegas median resale price in November increased by 8.3% to $$203,274.

    regular unleaded

    According to AAA, as of January 12, 2017 the average price per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline in Reno-Sparks saw a $0.18 increase from $2.58 a year prior to $2.76. When compared to the previous month the price of unleaded fuel increased by $0.12 (4.7%).

    According to AAA, “Moving into 2017, retail prices will continue to hinge on the ability of cartel countries to successfully implement production cuts, but retail averages are likely to increase leading up to the summer driving season as seasonal refinery maintenance gets underway this spring.”


    Per the World Gold Council, the end-of-month spot price of gold (ounce of pure gold) rose by 0.58% in December compared to November on a 12MMA basis. On a Y-O-Y basis, the price of gold increased by 8.4%. The price of gold peaked in December 2012 at $1,678. The price of gold had been increasing on a Y-O-Y basis for the past 5 consecutive months.

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