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Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2018:Q4

By , February 25, 2019 1:05 PM

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.

Sources: Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Sources: Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Sources: Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Sources: Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

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).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2018:Q2

By , August 13, 2018 8:55 AM

Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) rebounded in the second quarter of 2018, increasing by 1.8% after a 1.5% decline in the first quarter .  Compared to a year earlier, ATS was up 2.9%.  After adjusting for inflation, the year-over-year increase amounts to a real gain of only 0.8%.

Including gasoline purchases, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) expanded by 2.0% in the second quarter and was up 4.0% from a year earlier.  The relative strength in gasoline sales has been driven by higher prices:  The average gasoline price in Arkansas in the second quarter was $2.57, up from $2.33 in the first quarter and $2.11 in the second quarter of 2017.  Accordingly, spending on gasoline increased by 5.6% in the second quarter and was up 23.2% from a year earlier.  From 2017:Q2 through 2018:Q2 gasoline sales increased from 5.0% to 5.9% of total ATSIG.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Since the trough of the Great Recession both ATS and ATSIG have expanded at annual rates of approximately 3%.  Over the same period, inflation (as measured by the PCE price index) has averaged 1.6%.  Consequently, real spending has been growing at a pace of about 1.4%.

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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:Q2 (Excel file).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2018:Q1

By , June 6, 2018 1:00 PM

Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) declined by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2018 (seasonally adjusted), but remained 2.9% higher than a year earlier.  Derived from data on Arkansas Sales and Use tax collections, ATS is a measure of statewide consumer spending.  Another important component of consumer spending – gasoline purchases – was boosted by higher prices in the first quarter:  On average, gasoline prices were $2.33 per gallon in Arkansas, up from $2.24 in the fourth quarter of 2017.  Total spending on gasoline was up 2.2%.  As a result, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) experienced a smaller decline than did ATS – down 1.4% in the first quarter.  Compared to a year earlier, ATSIG was up 3.1%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Since the trough of the “great recession” in 2009:Q2, both ATS and ATSIG have increased at annual rates of 2.9%.  After adjusting for inflation of 1.6% per year, “real” taxable sales have increased at a rate of only 1.3%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

# # #

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:Q1 (Excel file).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2017:Q4

By , February 13, 2018 1:40 PM

Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) surged by 4.9% in the fourth quarter, following particularly weak third quarter in which ATS had declined by 2.3%.  Gasoline prices rose to an average of $2.24 in the fourth quarter, up from $2.17 in the third quarter.  As a result, spending on gasoline is estimated to have increased by 12.7% in the fourth quarter (seasonally adjusted) and our broader measure of consumer spending — Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) — increased 5.3%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

The fourth quarter increase mitigates concern about weakness in sales growth during the third quarter.  Compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, ATS and ATSIG were up 5.0% and 5.4%, respectively.  Inflation, as measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures (BEA), registered 1.7% from 2016:Q4 to 2017:Q4, so the increases in taxable sales represent real, inflation adjusted gains of well over 3%.  Over the longer term, from 2009:Q2 through 2017:Q4, ATS and ATSIG have increased at annual rates of just over 3%, which implies real, inflation-adjusted growth of around 1.6%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

The combined taxable sales figures for November and December provide some insight into the strength of the most recent holiday shopping season.  As illustrated below, ATS in November and December rose 7.2% from the previous year, the largest increase in over a decade.  For the same period, U.S. Retail Sales expanded 4.8%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, U.S. Census Bureau

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, U.S. Census Bureau

The 7.2% growth figure is likely to overstate the actual increase in holiday spending since online retailer Amazon was not remitting sales tax receipts in 2016 but was doing so in 2017.  Because information on any specific taxpayer is confidential, we cannot quantify the magnitude of this “Amazon effect.”  According to officials at the Department of Finance and Administration, however, the impact has not been particularly notable (See Arkansas Business article).   One reason for the muted impact of the Amazon effect is that the company is remitting taxes only for its direct sales, and not for third-party vendors who sell products through the Amazon marketplace.  Given the strength of the increase in 2017 holiday sales, and the stated minimal effect of Amazon’s sales tax submissions, it does seem clear that Arkansas retailers experienced a healthy increase in sales compared to the 2016 holiday shopping season.

# # #

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:Q4 (Excel file).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2017:Q3

By , December 13, 2017 4:11 PM

Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) declined 2.1% in the third quarter following increases of 0.4% and 1.8% in the first two quarters of the year.  Gasoline prices were up slightly in the third quarter, averaging $2.166 compared to $2.110 in the second quarter.  As a result, spending on gasoline was up 2.1% and a broader measure of retail spending, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) declined by only 1.9%.  Compared to a year earlier, both ATS and ATSIG were up slightly, 0.3% and 0.7%, respectively.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute.

Revenue reports from the department of Finance and Administration attributed some of the decline in third quarter sales tax collection to reduced spending on automobiles, along with general weakness in some categories of taxable business spending.  One factor mentioned in the October revenue report was relatively low tax collections from the utilities portion of the sales tax, which was held lower by cooler weather during the summer billing months.  Although taxable sales growth has been slower than anticipated throughout the current economic expansion, recent weakness is at least partly attributable to temporary factors.  Fourth quarter growth will be dependent on the robustness of the holiday shopping season, which is expected to be relatively strong.  Our forecast models suggest year-over-year growth of close to 3%.

# # #

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:Q3 (Excel file).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2017:Q2

By , August 16, 2017 1:04 PM

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.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Arkansas Economic Development Institute

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.

# # #

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).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2017:Q1

By , May 10, 2017 4:14 PM

Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) rose 0.1% in the first quarter of 2017 — up 2.1% from a year earlier.  From the end of the recession in 2009:Q2 through the first quarter of 2017, ATS has expanded at an annual rate of 2.9%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Gasoline prices averaged $2.11 during the first quarter, up from $2.00 in the fourth quarter of 2016.  As a result, expenditures on gasoline were up 8.0% in the first quarter and were 27.7% higher than in the first quarter of 2016.  Incorporating this source of increased spending, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) increased by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2017, and were 3.3% higher than a year earlier.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

# # #

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 monthly and quarterly data is available here: Arkansas Taxable Sales 2016:Q4 (Excel file).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2016

By , February 13, 2017 4:25 PM

Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) increased 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2016 (seasonally adjusted), and were up 1.8% from a year earlier.

With gasoline prices little changed, an increase in gallons sold pushed gasoline expenditures up 9.9% for the quarter.  As a result, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) rose 0.9%.  Compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, ATSIG was up 2.2%.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Both ATS and ATSIG had declined over the first half of 2016, but recovered lost ground in the third and fourth quarters.  On average, 2016 was a year of slowing growth in taxable sales.  Not including gasoline, Arkansas Taxable Sales were up 1.5% for the year.  With gasoline prices down from $2.18 in 2015 to $1.91 in 2016, expenditures on gasoline were down 8.2%.  Consequently, ATSIG rose only 1.0% for the year.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

# # #

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 monthly and quarterly data is available here: Arkansas Taxable Sales 2016:Q4 (Excel file).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2016:Q3

By , November 22, 2016 11:13 AM

After declining during the first half of the year, Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) rose 2.2% in the third quarter of 2016.  On a year-over-year basis, taxable sales were up 1.3% from the third quarter of 2015.  Gasoline sales also rose in the third quarter (+1.6%), despite a slight reduction in the average price of gasoline in Arkansas.  As a result, Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) also rose by 2.2% from the second quarter to the third.  Over the past four quarters, ATSIG has increased by 0.6% while gasoline prices have fallen from $2.28/gallon in 2015:Q3 to $1.985 in the most recent quarter.

Sources:  Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

From the trough of the recession (2009:Q2) through the third quarter of 2016, ATS has grown at an average rate of 3.0%.  With gasoline expenditures falling at a 2.1% annual rate over the same period, ATSIG has increased at a 2.8% rate.  As measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures, inflation has averaged 1.5% over the 7-year expansion, so that real (inflation adjusted) measures of ATS and ATSIG have grown at rates of 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively.

As shown in the final figure below, gasoline prices are at about the same level as at the trough of the recession–around $2/gallon.  However, spending on gasoline as a percent of total taxable sales has fallen to less than 5%, down from around 6% in 2009.  Although expenditures on gasoline have increased over the past 7 years, lower gas prices have allowed for spending on non-fuel items to increase as a share of total expenditures.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement

# # #

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 monthly and quarterly data is available here: Arkansas Taxable Sales 2016:Q1 (Excel file).

Arkansas Taxable Sales – 2016:Q1

By , July 20, 2016 4:22 PM

Arkansas Taxable Sales Including Gasoline (ATSIG) declined by 1.0% from 2015:Q4 to 2016:Q1, following a decline of 0.5% in the previous quarter.  Compared to a year earlier, ATSIG increased by only 1.0%.  Much of the weakness in the growth rate of ATSIG is attributable to low gasoline prices.  The average price of gasoline in Arkansas in the first quarter was $1.66, down from $1.94.  As a result, spending on gasoline declined by 12.1% (seasonally adjusted).

Not all the slow growth in sales can be attributed to low gas prices, however.  Excluding gasoline, Arkansas Taxable Sales (ATS) declined by 0.5% in the first quarter, following a nearly flat fourth quarter.  From 2015:Q1 to 2016:Q1, ATS rose by only 1.8%.  After adjusting for inflation (as measured by the price index for personal consumption expenditures), real ATS was up only 0.8% over the four-quarter period.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, Institute for Economic Advancement.

Given the state’s low unemployment and relatively healthy income growth, it is surprising that the growth rate of Arkansas Taxable Sales has been so sluggish.  Since the trough of the “great recession” in 2009:Q2, ATS has increased at an annual rate of only 3.0%.  Over the same period, U.S. Retail Sales have been growing at a 4.4% pace.  Although the national figures are not completely comparable to ATS, the discrepancy between the growth rates of consumer spending on the national and state levels is notable.  The growing share of internet shopping (which is included in U.S. Retail Sales but not necessarily in ATS) might account for a portion of the discrepancy, but is unlikely explain the difference completely.

Sources:  Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, U.S. Census Bureau, Institute for Economic Advancement.

Sources: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Oil Price Information Service, U.S. Census Bureau, Institute for Economic Advancement.

# # #

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 monthly and quarterly data is available here: Arkansas Taxable Sales 2016:Q1 (Excel file).

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