Tri-Cities retail sales tax collections lead E. Tenn. Nov. pace


Percent change year-over-year sales tax collections

Sales tax collections in East Tennessee came on like “Gang Busters” when compared to October. But the picture wasn’t quite as strong for year-over-year comparisons.

Here’s what November’s adjusted collection totals looked like when compared to October, according to the Business and Economic Research Center at MTSU:

–         Kingsport-Bristol MSA – up 11.8%.

–        Johnson City MSA – up 4.5%.

–        Knoxville MSA – up 4.2%

–        Morristown MSA – up 0.7%

This is the comparison to November 2012:

–        Knoxville MSA – up 4.2%

–        Johnson City MSA – up 3.2%

–        Morristown MSA – up 0.7%.

–        Kingsport-Bristol – down 5.6%.

CLICK HERE to see the local economy’s November pulse.

When Johnson City and Kingsport-Bristol numbers are combined, the Tri-Cities total lags last year’s collection by 1.3% and splits the difference between the performance of the two MSAs.

November’s year-over-year data reversed a two month Tri-Cities decline.

If collections follow the seasonal pattern, December should be an improvement over November. The year-0ver-year pattern might be a little trickier.

Johnson City MSA’s collections performance improved on the December – December comparison in 2011 and 2012. But the same isn’t the case for Kingsport-Bristol. December 2011 was lower than it was in 2010 then made a strong come back in December 2012.

One factor that has to be considered when looking at this year’s holiday season collections is the shorter shopping season. It had retailers working harder to persuade shoppers to spend.

Job creation in the Tri-Cities also gave spending a holiday boost. It took a turn for the better beginning in August and continued into November. The downside to that was the average weekly wage for private sector workers. While workers in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA have kept even when adjusted for inflation from a pre-recession benchmark the same can’t be said for those in the Johnson City MSA. And a 2008 – 2012 comparison shows the median family income in the Tri-Cities took a $43-a-month hit in a recovery that has seen a hollowing out of the region’s middle class.

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