Knoxville was the only Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in Northeast Tennessee with a positive August year-over-year gain in retail sales tax collections. Kingsport-Bristol and the Johnson City MSA were in a two-month collections slump, and Morristown saw its four-month streak of gains go negative.
Seasonally adjusted collections data from Middle Tennessee State University show year-over-year collections were up 3.1% on the state level. Half of the state’s 10 MSAs paced the state rate.
Here’s how August collections looked here in Northeast Tennessee.
- Knoxville MSA, up 1.9%.
- Johnson City, down 0.9%.
- Kingsport-Bristol, down 2.3%.
- Morristown, down 6.9%.
After hitting a June peak, collections in the Tri-Cities’ two MSAs headed south when compared to what they were last year. Total collections for the seven-county Tri-Cities region were down a little over $500,000 in August.
On a month-over-month metric state, collections were up 0.2%, but seven of the 10 MSA saw decreases from their July totals. Here’s how that looked in Northeast Tennessee.
- Kingsport-Bristol, up 2.3%.
- Knoxville, down 1.1%.
- Johnson City, down 3.1%.
- Morristown, down 10.2%.
Kingsport-Bristol’s month-over-month gain was enough to move August’s collections level with its three-month trend. At the same time, Johnson City’s 3.1% decline dropped it below the trend line.
Nationwide consumer spending was up 0.1% in August, but when adjusted for inflation spending fell for the first time since January.
Blame fewer new car and truck sales for August’s decline in spending.
From a trends perspective, consumers are spending at a stable rate despite some dips. Spending is being buoyed by growing jobs market and wage increases.
A current forecast from Kiplinger says retails are looking for a strong holiday season. There are also reports that retailers are accommodating to that outlook with stronger seasonal hiring.