Washoe County Economic Indicators-January 2012-Part 2

Residential

The housing market continues to remain unpredictable, with growth and declines abounding.  On the positive side, the number of new home sales increased both over the previous period and the same period last year.  This news is tempered by the large amount of remaining housing inventory and the slowdown of sales between December 2011 and January 2012, though some of that may be attributed to seasonality.  Single family prices continue their decline, but there is some growth in the condo prices.

It makes sense that the number of notices of default is growing as institutions figure out ways to continue issuing these notices, following the changes in the foreclosure processes.  This may also impact REO listings and notices of sale, as fewer notices of default are issued.  This does not represent the performance of the real estate sector, but rather the impact of these restrictions.

Commercial

Commercial data is published on quarterly basis, latest available Fourth Quarter 2011 data was discussed in the previous post.

Conclusion

Overall, January was not a good month for the much anticipated economic recovery for Washoe County.  With declines in tourism, general, employment and housing markets, it is difficult to be optimistic about a quick recovery.  While some positive indicators exist, including fewer days on the market for residential properties, increasing weekly wage rates, and especially an increase in taxable sales; the overall picture is still bleak.

Washoe County Economic Indicators-January 2012-Part 1

We are finally moving into 2012 with the majority of our data and the start of 2012 is not acting like an economic recovery.  This blog covers data for General, Tourism and Employment economic indicators, to be followed by the Real Estate indicators next week.

As always, data is provided for the latest available period, the period immediately prior to the latest period and the data for the same period the year before. For example, Visitor Count data, available for January 2012 (current period) is compared to December 2011 data (previous period) and January 2011 (same period previous year).

General

Data for population, assessed value and personal income is the same as in the previous reports.  Washoe County taxable sales increased by 34.6% between November and December 2011, though much of this increase is likely due to the holiday season.  What is more important is the 6% between December 2012 and 2011 taxable sales, indicating a growth in holiday spending over the previous year.

Taxable gaming revenue continues to decrease, falling by 6.2% between December and January.  Gaming revenue also fell between January 2012 and the same month in 2011, showing a continuing declining trend.  In further negative news, the consumer price index increased slightly between November and December 2011 and also compared to December of previous year, making our purchases a little more expensive.

Tourism

As bright as our tourism outlook was in December, we seemed to have expended our tourism attraction abilities by January.  Tourism data shows declines across all indicators, including visitor counts, available rooms, occupied rooms, room occupancy rates and average room rates when compared to the previous period (December 2011) and the same month last year (January 2012).  Let’s hope this is a one-time occurrence due to the lack of snow or other non-recurring conditions.

Note: Tourism indicators are highly seasonal, changing from month to month.  As a result, comparing the current period to the previous period may not be a good indicator of growth or decline, the comparison of the same period in current and previous year is more accurate.

Employment

Compared to the January 2011 (December 2010 for unemployment claims), the Washoe County January 2012 employment picture is much brighter.  While the labor force number decreased slightly, we had a significant decrease in the number of unemployed, unemployment rate and new unemployment claims.  The average weekly wage also increased from the same period last year from $816 to $849 (Q3 2011 to Q3 2010).

Compared to the previous period (December 2011), however, the number of unemployed, unemployment rate and new unemployment claims increased.  The average weekly wage was the only indicator that increased, though this indicator is lagging behind other indicators (latest available for third quarter of 2011).