Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) increased 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and was 1.0% higher than the same quarter a year earlier. The growth rate of ATS in 2018 represents a slowdown from the previous trend rate: From 2014 through 2017, ATS expanded at a 3.1% annual rate.
Over the entire calendar-year 2018, ATS totaled $59.848 billion, up 2.5% from 2017.
Gasoline prices were trending downward during the fourth quarter. The average price of gasoline was $2.31, down from $2.59 in the third quarter. As a result, consumer expenditures on gasoline are estimated to have fallen by 12.0% in 2018:Q4. Incorporating this spending category, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) increased by only 1.4% in the fourth quarter. Total spending, including gasoline, was 1.1% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2017.
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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 2018:Q4 (Excel file).