Growth in Las Vegas Valley Seen Cooling - Monday 6th of February 2006

LAS VEGAS, Nevada Higher fuel prices and rising interest rates have yet to exact their toll from the dynamic Southern Nevada economy, but growth is coming at a slower pace, a local economist said.

The Southern Nevada Index of Leading Indicators, compiled by the Center for Business and Economic Research at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, showed a modest gain to 132.16 in December, up 0.1 percent from the previous month and 1.28 percent from a year ago.

"Things have been good for so long that some slowing is inevitable," said Keith Schwer, director of the research center. "It's not unexpected."

Still, the upward movement in the index points to further expansion in the first half of the year, he said.

"Tourism and construction continue along strong growth paths, bumping up against capacity constraints," Schwer said recently. "Capacity constraints work to hold the rate of expansion."

The accompanying Review-Journal chart includes several of the index's categories, along with data such as new residents and employment and housing numbers, updated for the most recent month for which figures are available.

Clark County gaming revenue increased 17.6 percent in November to $846.7 million, while visitor volume was up 4.8 percent to 3.5 million. Room inventory grew 3.7 percent from a year ago to 133,608.

"The volume of traffic is not that much greater, but they're still coming and they're coming with more money," Schwer said.

Even with the Fed pushing up the prime lending rate, interest rates are sill relatively low, particularly long-term rates, which haven't increased much at all, Schwer said.

"They could be a lot higher, but they're not going up that fast," he said.

Las Vegas has led the nation in job growth, powered by the construction and hospitality industries, and total employment grew 7.3 percent in November to 898,800. The unemployment rate was 4 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from a year ago.

Schwer said if gasoline prices are looked at as a percentage of gross domestic product, there is less energy used to produce GDP despite people driving sport utility vehicles and other gasoline guzzlers.

The biggest impact of fuel prices, he said, is for natural gas and from a regional point of view, it's not as significant for Las Vegas as it is for the Midwest, for example.

"We're not a heavy user of energy. You may start to see an impact on electricity (rates) because we use gas for generation plants," Schwer said.

"We're seeing adjustments that are below the radar like the coal(-fired power) plant Nevada Power wants to build in Ely," Schwer added.

Other news from around the same time

Singapore Officials: No Changes to Casino Requirements - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

SINGAPORE – As reported by the Dow Jones: "Singapore Tuesday rejected suggestions that it had imp....

Teacher Wins on Belle Rock Online Casino - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

GIBRALTAR – Heidi B., a teacher from Ohio, is thelatest in a string of instant millionaires to ....

Kelley Technologies, Simplikate Systems Sign Deal - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

IRVINE, California – Network InstallationCorp. (OTC Bulletin Board: NWKI), today announced that....

Scientific Games, Illinois Lottery Sign 3-Year Contract - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

NEW YORK Scientific Games Corporation(Nasdaq: SGMS) signed a three year contract with the Illino....

Phil Ivey Named Player of the Year - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

ATLANTA, Georgia – Bluff Magazine America's leading poker magazine, announced today that Phil I....

Columnist Jeff Simpson: Shedding Some Light on Strip Club's Strip Connections - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

by Jeff SimpsonOur Parters at the Las Vegas SunNevada's Gaming Control Board is investigating the a....

Boomtown Promotes New GM - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

RENO, Nevada – As reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal: "Ron Jennings has been promoted to manage....

Betfair Wins Australian License - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Australia Age: "Australia's first internet betting exchange will o....

Borgata Bob is Boyd's Point Man for Echelon - Monday 6th of February 2006

p>When Boyd Gaming executive Bob Boughner is asked to describe his company's planned $4 billion Eche....

32Red Poker Master Crowned and a Local Charity Benefits - Wednesday 18th of January 2006

LONDON, UK Hot on the heels of sending Stuart Rutter to the exclusive Monte Carlo Millions, the ....