Kingsport-Bristol only state MSA with Sept. sales tax collection decline


The Tri-Cities economy continued marching to its own drummer in September.

Sept Tri-Cities

Seasonally adjusted sales tax collections in every MSA in the state increased with the exception of Kingsport-Bristol. Year-over-year there were down 2.8%. Compared to August they were down 10.1%. The data comes from the MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center.

Collection in the other half of the Tri-Cities area – the Johnson City MSA – were 1.9% better than September last year and down 1.1% from August.

The “marching to its own drummer” comment comes from the fact that the Tri-Cities economy behaves quite differently from the other MSAs in the state.  Geography is part of the reason.  Our area covers two states, four when you expand the market’s sphere of influence.

Knoxville, and to a lesser degree Morristown, sees economic behavior more in-line with what’s happening in the rest of the state.

So far this year, the Kingsport-Bristol market’s collections have been more volatile than Johnson City.

Johnson City MSA year-to-year change has been in positive territory for the past four month while year-to-year Kingsport-Bristol collections chart like a roller-coaster ride.

Stepping back and looking at collections in the Tri-Cities and a single market,  September was the first time since June that they dipped below the zero percent line.  Collections in both MSAs trended lower in September.

There’s a chance lower gas prices this month will help drive October’s collections higher. Consumers tend to be more willing to spend a few extra dollars when gas prices are down and the slide below $3 a gallon is being welcomed as the region moves toward the holiday season. Most analysts predict that holiday sales this year will be considerably better than last year.

©Don Fenley

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