Good news, bad news

The conflicting economic news for battered Nevada continues.

Last week, it was unemployment. After having dropped for two straight months, the state's jobless rate jumped slightly in June to almost 13 percent.

Now it's state tax collections and housing.

On the positive front, taxable sales in Nevada rose 7.2 percent in May when compared with the same month a year ago. That's the 11th straight month of gains.

At this point in the fiscal year, the state's general fund has collected about $6 million more in sales tax money than projected. Couple that with recent gains in gaming tax revenue, and the state's financial condition has certainly improved in the past year.

Unfortunately, the bad news persists in the housing market. While home prices increased in May in most major U.S. cities and may be stabilizing, the situation in Las Vegas continues to get worse. According to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index, prices in Las Vegas, Tampa and Detroit fell in May to their lowest points since the recession began.

In fact, until the local foreclosure inventory has stabilized -- which could be three to five years off -- the housing market in Las Vegas will continue to be the primary drag on the state's economy.

But that's at least somewhat mitigated by a handful of other indicators that appear to be on the rebound.


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