Washoe County Economic Indicators-March/April 2015

Having missed the March indicator update, our April update combines information for the two months.  Indicators for these periods would have included data for January and February of 2015.  For some indicators, March 2015 data is also available and is also included in this entry.

Reno/Sparks MSA[1] Employment

Monthly Reno-Sparks MSA employment trends (year over year) have seen consistent positive employment growth since March 2012.  According to estimates from Department of Employment, Training, & Rehabilitation (DETR), January 2015 employment was 206,942, a 4.9% increase (9,600 jobs) over January 2014.  February 2015 employment was  210,724, a 5.5% increase over February 2014 (11,000 jobs).  March 2015 employment was  211,478, a 5.8% increase (11,600 jobs) over March 2014.

The March 2015 employment level of 211,478 represents an increase of 26,700 jobs since the lowest level of employment post-2005 (January 2011, 184,800 jobs), but remains 16,600 jobs less than the region’s peak employment (December 2006, 228,100 jobs).

Industries with the largest employment gains between March 2014 and March 2015 included Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (1,300 jobs), Education and Health Services (1,000 jobs), Leisure and Hospitality (900 jobs), Government (800 jobs), Manufacturing (700 jobs), and Construction (500 jobs).

Industries with a reduction in jobs during this period were the Professional and Business Services (-100 jobs) industry; and Finance and Insurance (-100 jobs), Retail (-400 jobs), and Miscellaneous Manufacturing (-300 jobs) sub-industries.


[1] The Reno/Sparks MSA includes Washoe and Storey Counties.

Washoe County Gross Gaming Revenue

Despite the downturn in Washoe County gaming industry’s performance in recent years gaming remains an important employer and revenue generator.  Of the top 20 employers in Washoe County, eight are Casino Hotels.  Excluding government, school districts, and higher education, three of the top five employers are Casino Hotels.

After six years of gross gaming revenue decline between 2007 and 2012 (year over year), gaming revenues increased in 2013 by 3.5% and in 2014 by 0.45%.  Gaming revenue increased by 12.4% between January 2014 and January 2015 and 3.4% between February 2014 and February 2015.  With a 9% increase between December 2013 and 2014, we have experienced three consecutive months of gaming revenue growth.

gaming revenue

Washoe County Taxable Sales

Through January 2015, Washoe County taxable sales have now experienced 25 straight months of positive year-over-year growth since January 2013.  During this period taxable sales have increased between 3.6% (Aug-14/Aug-13) and 13.1% (Dec-13/Dec-12), with six of the months posting gains in the double-digits.  Between January 2014 and January 2015, taxable sales for the County increased by 12.5%.

The industries with the largest portion of taxable sales in Washoe County continued to report growth in sales between January 2014 and January 2015.  These include Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers with sales of $72.7 million (21.0% increase), Food Services and Drinking Places with sales of $79.9 million (14.7% increase), and General Merchandise Stores with sales of $52.5 million (9.1% increase).

taxable sales

Washoe County Single-Family Home Values and Sales

According to the Northern Nevada Regional MLS, the existing single-family median home value of $255,000 (January 2015) represents a 15.9% increase over January 2014, but a 3.8% decrease over December 2014 value of $265,000. December’s median value of $265,000 was the highest median since April 2008 ($275,000), but is still $95,000 less than the peak of January 2006 ($360,000).

According to the Northern Nevada Regional MLS, 364 existing single-family homes were sold in the Washoe County in January 2015, compared to 352 homes sold in January 2014 and 514 homes in December 2014.

home values

Reno-Sparks MSA Commercial Market Vacancies

Using quarterly data available from Collier’s International Reno office, vacancy rates for office space are available starting in the 1st quarter 2002; vacancy rates for industrial properties are available starting 1stquarter 2006.  As data are shown using a 4-quarter moving average (4QMA), the below graph shows office vacancy rates starting 4th quarter 2002 and industrial vacancy rates starting 4th quarter 2006.

The office market vacancy rate peaked in the 3rd quarter 2010 with a 4QMA of 21.6%.  Office vacancy rates declined to a post-recession low of 18.0% in the 3rd quarter 2012 before climbing to 19.2% by the 3rdquarter 2013.  A year later, by the 3rd quarter of 2014, vacancy rates fell to a 4QMA level of 17.4%.  4QMA fell to 17.2% in the 4th Quarter of 2014 and 17.1% in the 1st Quarter of 2015.

The industrial market vacancy rate peaked in the 2nd quarter of 2010 with a 4QMA level of 13.7%.  Rates fluctuated during the next few years before reaching a new peak in the 4th quarter of 2012 with a 4QMA level of 13.4%.  By the 3rd quarter 2014, 4QMA levels fell to 8.0%, compared to the 4QMA level of 11.8% a year prior, 3rd quarter 2013.  4QMA increased slightly to 8.3% in the 4th Quarter of 2014 before a slight decrease to 8.2% in the 1st Quarter 2015.

commercial vacancy

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