Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) declined slightly in the third quarter, down 0.3% from the previous quarter (seasonally adjusted).¬† Compared to the same period a year earlier, however, ATS was up 5.7%.¬† ATS includes all items subject to Arkansas sales and use taxes, so it does not include retail gasoline purchases.¬† Using data from the state’s motor fuel tax to augment the data produces a slightly broader measure of retail spending: Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG).¬† Total spending on gasoline was down 0.7% in the third quarter, so there was little difference in the quarterly growth rate of ATS and ATSIG.¬† Compared to the third quarter of 2012, however, lower prices drove a 5.5% decline in spending on gasoline.¬† So over the past year, ATSIG increased by only 4.8%.
It has been four years since ATS hit the cyclical trough associated with the 2008-2009 recession.¬† Since that time it has expanded by 15.4% — an annual growth rate of 3.6%.¬† Over the same period, ATSIG has¬†expanded at a 3.9% annual rate.
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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:Q3 (Excel file)