Nye County taxable sales fell 42.2 percent in August, the continuing impact of the end of construction of the SolarReserve Crescent Dunes project near Tonopah.
However, some key local indicators of the economy increased.
The Nevada Department of Taxation reported $35.5 million in taxable sales in Nye County for August, a drop from $61.46 million in August 2013. Specialty trade contractors, which include companies building renewable energy projects, generated $22.89 million in taxable sales in August 2013 but only $671,995 in August 2014, the $22.2 million decrease was the lion’s share of the county’s $25.9 million total decline in taxable sales.
Among industrial sectors that generate six-figure taxable sales monthly in Nye County, taxable sales for machinery manufacturing plunged 47 percent from $3.7 million to $1.96 million. Chemical manufacturing taxable sales were down 19.1 percent from $3.2 million to $2.6 million. Merchant wholesalers of durable goods, a category related to the mining industry, had a 6.6 percent drop in taxable sales from $2.8 million to $2.61 million.
On more of a consumer level, motor vehicle and parts dealers saw taxable sales drop 5.6 percent in August 2014 from the same month in 2013, from $5.5 million to $5.2 million. General merchandise stores reported a 4.1 percent decline in taxable sales from $4 million to $3.8 million.
Food and beverage stores racked up a 22.5 percent increase in taxable sales from $1.3 million to $1.6 million. Food services and drinking places had an 11.8 percent gain in taxable sales in August, from $3.13 million to $3.5 million. Sales of building material and garden equipment rose 3.4 percent during the month in Nye County, from $2.18 million to $2.26 million.
Nye County collected $1.04 million in consolidated taxes for August, which is mostly sales tax but also cigarette, liquor and real personal property tax.
Unemployment continues to drop
The Nye County unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent in September, the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation reported. That’s down from 8.7 percent in August and 11.3 percent in September 2013. The 8.1 percent unemployment rate is half the 16.2 percent county unemployment rate in September 2011 at the height of the great recession.
DETR estimates the number of county unemployed dropped by 75 workers in September from 1,474 to 1,399 people and fell by 200 workers from the 1,599 estimated unemployed in July. DETR estimates there were another 243 employed workers in Nye County in September with 15,789 in the ranks of the employed. The total labor force was 17,188 in September, up from 17,020 in August but down from the 18,220 people in the labor force back in September 2011 with high unemployment.
Building activity increases
The Pahrump Building and Safety Department issued 38 building permits in October, up from 27 in September but equal to the 38 issued in August. Total valuations of new building activity were $2.9 million, down from the $7.3 million in September when Blackburn and Associates began work on the Holiday Inn Express hotel. The 10 building permits issued for single-family homes in October ranked second only to the 12 issued in August.
Nelson Construction pulled permits to begin the expansion at Armscor Precision ammunition at 150 N. Smart Way and Action Target had a commercial project starting construction at 2871 Mesquite Ave.
On the residential side, William Lyon Homes pulled building permits for four homes on La Grancia Street in Mountain Falls during October; Avco Construction took out a building permit for a multi-family housing project at 1220 E. Bourbon St.; Double M Construction began another home construction at Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch; Top Rank Builders was building a home at 2061 Keenan Way; CR Homes took out a permit for a home at 4892 Quail Run Road, and Rick Hoffman started building a home at 1050 W. Gamebird Road.
For the 10 months of the 2014 calendar year so far, Pahrump Building and Safety issued 312 building permits of which 54 were single-family homes. In 2013, there were 417 building permits issued for the entire year, of which 52 were for single-family homes. By comparison, in calendar year 2010, during the depth of the recession, 255 building permits were issued, of which only 23 were for single-family homes.
Gaming wins increase
The gaming win for the 11 Nye County casinos holding non-restricted licenses was up 2.67 percent in September from the same month in September 2013, according to a report from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The casinos reported a total gaming win of $3.8 million. Virtually all of the revenue came from slot machines, which accounted for $3.67 million in September.
For the last year from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014, the total gaming win was $48.4 million, up 1.5 percent from the year before.