The growth rate of Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) surged in the second quarter of 2017, increasing by 2.2% (an 8.9% annual rate). From the second quarter of 2006, ATS has increased by 4.8%. Although gasoline prices were unchanged from the first quarter to the second quarter, seasonally adjusted gasoline sales were down by 10%. Accordingly, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) increased at a lower rate than ATS, rising 1.5% for the quarter.
Since the end of the 2008-09 recession, ATS and ATSIG have grown at average rates of 3.1% and 2.9%, respectively. Over the same period, however, inflation has averaged about 1.5%. Hence, only about half of the expansion in taxable sales over the past 8 years can be attributable to real (inflation-adjusted) growth.
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Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) is calculated by the Arkansas Economic Development Institute 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 monthly and quarterly data is available here: Arkansas Taxable Sales 2017:Q2 (Excel file).