Utah’s 1% local sales tax of $36.92 million in January 2014 (representing November 2013 sales) was 0.5% lower than the $37.11 million distributed a year earlier. For the the first five months of fiscal year 2015, local sales tax distributions are up 4.8%. But during the last three months the growth rate has slipped to 2.8%.
Utah’s economy may have slowed a bit more due to layoffs by the federal government due to the impending shutdown. Utah’s employment growth rate slipped from 3% in the summer months to 2.2% in November. Total construction values in 17 Wasatch Front & Back counties fell 3.5% between September and November compared to a year earlier. In Salt Lake County, residential construction rose almost 7%, while commercial construction fell 64%, driving a 24% total decline in new construction.
Salt Lake City’s distribution fell 0.7% in January. Sandy’s distribution fell 6.2%, suggesting an almost 12% decline in sales for November. On the plus side, Draper’s distribution rose 6.2% and Murray and Midvale’s rose 4.5%.
In Utah and Weber County, city distributions rose between 1% and 2% in January. Utah County’s distribution for its .25% tax inexplicably fell 7.4%.
In Davis County, distributions for Bountiful, Clearfield and Layton rose 5.8 to 5.9%. Farmington’s distribution rose almost 30%, implying a direct sales increase of 60.3%.
St. George’s distribution rose 3.4%, implying a 7.3% increase in November sales.
December’s distribution at $36.87 million, representing sales from October, was up 4.3% from a year earlier.
Salt Lake City’s sales were up 3.4%, below the statewide average. Other cities in Salt Lake County that did better than the statewide average were: Sandy (6.5%), Murray (5.2%), Midvale (8.8%), and Draper (10.1%).
This month we also calculated the “imputed” direct sales for the month, a number we computed going backwards with the 50% population / 50 % point-of-sale formula.
Based on this calculation direct sales growth were:
We thought October sales would have been soft given that consumer confidence in the U.S. slipped to 73.2 from 77.5 in September 2013. There was a foreboding edge in the air due to the government shutdown. Nevertheless, U.S. consumers increased their purchases of new automobiles and light trucks by 10.6% in October.
Since Washington DC came to terms with their budget in December, we are feeling quite a bit better about the February distribution for December sales.
The November distribution, which came out last week and represents taxable sales for September 2013, was up 4.5% compared to a year earlier. Statewide distribution totals were $44.31 million, up from $42.40 million in November 2012. For the first three months of fiscal year 2014, the statewide 1% local sales tax is up 6.1%, fairly close to our forecast of 6.5% (which assume no more major fiscal problems due to the federal debt ceiling and budget). The 6-month growth rate is almost 3% lower at 3.8%, suggesting that a realistic forecast still ranges between the low 2.4% pessimistic and 6.5% baseline scenarios.
Distributions among Utah’s major cities range between -3.6% (Tooele) and +15.3% (Farmington) in November. In Salt Lake County, South Jordan’s distribution was up 7.6%, in contrast with its 3-month growth rate of 1.4%. Draper’s distribution was up 5.1% in November and 12.4% for the first three months of fiscal year 2014. Salt Lake City’s distribution rose 4.6% and it’s year-to-date growth is up 6.1% from last year.
In Utah County, Orem led with a 6.6% gain, followed by Lehi at 4.8%. Fiscal year totals ranged from 7.0% to 7.9% for Provo, Orem and Lehi.
In Davis County, the two largest cities, Layton and Bountiful, saw respective increases of 5.8% and 5.4%.
St. George distribution was up 7.5%, partially due to its housing recovery.