“Sales rose by 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010 following a 1.0 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2009…”
As described in a previous article, data on state sales tax collections can be used to measure overall sales activity in the state, producing a data series we called Arkansas Taxable Sales. The Institute for Economic Advancement has developed this measure to help fill an existing gap in the availability of timely, accurate data on the retail sales sector of the Arkansas economy.
The latest report on state revenues from the Department of Finance and Administration showed that April gross receipts collections (primarily sales taxes) were up from the previous year, and were 0.7 percent above DFA’s forecast. With this information, preliminary* data on Arkansas Taxable Sales for the first quarter of 2010 can be estimated.
After adjustments for the timing of tax collections relative to underlying sales, changes in tax laws, and seasonal patterns in the data, the Arkansas Taxable Sales series serves as a proxy measure for recent conditions in the retail sales sector.
The new reading on this statistic shows that sales rose by 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010 following a 1.0% increase in the fourth quarter of 2009, lifting sales to a level 3.4 percent higher than in the trough that is now evident in third quarter of 2009.
The first quarter data indicate a pattern of recovery in Arkansas retail sales. With two consecutive quarterly increases, this is a clear indication that positive growth has taken hold in the Arkansas retail sales sector. Mirroring similar gains that we’ve seen in statistics for retail sales nationwide, this information confirms recent trends suggesting that Arkansas is firmly back in the expansion phase of the business cycle.
* Data are preliminary until the release of the DFA report, Arkansas Fiscal Notes, for April 2010. Data will be updated when information becomes available.