Archived News | Return to News Center

February 16, 2009

ULM professor reports Ouachita Parish sales tax collections

Holiday seasonal retail sales in Ouachita Parish increased by an estimated 1.3 percent in 2008, according to Robert Eisenstadt, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The outcome is just shy of the 2 percent Christmas retail gain forecast by the CBER in October of this year.

The estimate is calculated from non-automotive sales tax collections for the two-month period of November and December. If one takes into consideration October sales, which were surprisingly strong in Ouachita Parish (a quarterly comparison), 2008 estimated retail sales were ahead of 2007 by a considerable 4.4 percent.

The non-automotive sales gains experienced locally are in stark contrast to the contraction in seasonal sales experienced by the national market, which saw estimated declines of 5.5 percent to 8 percent.

The estimates are net of automotive sales/registrations in the parish, which as a stand-alone item, reflect the national trend. Sales tax collections from automobile purchases and registrations by parish residents have been well below 2007 levels for virtually the entire second half of 2008.

The dollar value of automotive purchases by parish residents is down an estimated 9.3 percent for 2008. For just the second half of 2008, the dollar value of automotive purchases by parish residents is down an estimated 17.2 percent.

These estimates are not adjusted for inflation. With adjustments, the November-December estimate for 2008 is: -.55 percent (from 2007) for non-automotive retail sales. The October-December estimate is +2.42 percent.

For the year, estimated non-automotive retail sales for Ouachita Parish ran 2.80 percent ahead of 2008, approximately .6 percent ahead of core inflation. Including automotive sales, the estimated retail sales for Ouachita Parish are 1.6 percent ahead of 2007, -.75 percent, though, after adjusting for inflation.

The strength of seasonal retail sales in Ouachita Parish is attributed in part to the lack of a housing bust in the region, and especially to a precipitous and timely decline in fuel prices that increased the number of discretionary dollars consumers had to spend in the final quarter of 2008, Eisenstadt said.

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.