The final figures for Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) in December 2013 were slightly lower than anticipated. As a result, the fourth quarter growth rates for ATS and the expanded version–Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG)–ended up being lower than we originally reported.
In the fourth quarter, ATS declined by 0.5%, following a 0.8% decline in the third quarter. Including gasoline, sales declined by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, ATS was up 1.8% and ATSIG was up 0.7%. Over the same four-quarter period, inflation averaged around 1.0% (PCE price index) to 1.2% (CPI). As a result, real (inflation adjusted) ATSIG declined over the course of the year and real ATS rose by less than 1%.
Newly-released data for the first two months of 2014 show continuing weakness in January, but a sharp increase in February. Compared to February 2013, the preliminary figures show increases of 7.4% for ATS and 6.1% for ATSIG.
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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:Q4 (Excel file)