Tri-Cities metro areas joined Morristown to trail Knoxville and the state in year-over-year October retail sales tax collections. Kingsport-Bristol also had the worst year-over-year performance of any metro area in the state.
So far, this year collections are up 0.4% in the three-county Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) when compared to the first nine months of last year and down 0.2% in the four-county Kingsport-Bristol MSA.
Here’s how the year-over-year seasonally adjusted collections looked in Northeast Tennessee, according to Middle Tennessee State University.
Knoxville, up 1.8%
Johnson City down 1.0%
Morristown, down 1.6%
Kingsport-Bristol, down 5.1%.
Statewide, collections were up 2.6%.
Although October was a negative month for Johnson City it broke a three-month decline in collections higher. The opposite was the case in Kingsport-Bristol where October’s lowest performance of the year broke two months of increasing collections.
Here’s how collections look when compared to September.
Knoxville, up 1.3%
Johnson City, up 0.7%
Morristown, down 0.4%
Kingsport-Bristol, down 6.3%
Statewide collections were 0.5% better than September.
Nationwide consumer spending rose 0.3% in October. That was less than the 1% gain in September but what economists called it an acceptable pace.
Some of the increase in spending in October was on necessities such as prescription drugs, but Americans also spent more on recreational goods and plane fares for foreign travel. Both are signs of confidence in the economy.
Spending could get a lift from the Trump administration’s plan to lower income taxes. But with the bulk of the tax relief expected to go to high-income households, economists caution that the boost might be limited.
Economists and retailers are banking on a strong holiday season since consumer confidence recently high a 17-year high.
Unemployment rates on the national and local levels are at record lows that virtually anyone willing to work and meet some basic employer requirements can find a job.
Inflation is also low.