Although the information is not yet complete, preliminary data on Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) in the second quarter indicates a resumption of robust growth in consumer spending. In the first quarter of the year ATS growth slowed to near zero (+0.2%, revised), but the preliminary second quarter figures put the growth rate at 3.1% (seasonally adjusted). The first quarter slowdown coincided with flat personal income growth, largely associated with changes in Federal tax rates.
Slightly lower gasoline prices along with a drop in the number of gallons sold led to a 5.0% decline in expenditures on gasoline. Consequently, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) increased by only 2.4% in the second quarter.
Compared to a year earlier, ATS was up 4.3% and ATSIG was up 3.8%.
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Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) is calculated by the Institute for Economic Advancement to serve as a timely proxy for Arkansas retail sales. The series is derived from sales and use tax data, adjusting for the relative timing of tax collections and underlying sales, changes in tax laws, and seasonal patterns in the data. Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) incorporates data on the state motor fuel tax and gasoline prices from the Oil Price Information Service.
A spreadsheet of the data is available here: Arkansas Taxable Sales 2013:Q2(P) (Excel file)
* Data are preliminary until the release of the DFA report, Arkansas Fiscal Notes for July 2013, and will be updated when information becomes available.