Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish rose by 1.2 percent in August, the third month in a row where economic activity was higher than the year before.

Businesses and consumers spent $683.3 million in August, according to figures released Wednesday by the city-parish Finance Department. That compares with $675.1 million in August 2014. The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally examined separately when looking at spending as an economic indicator.

Spending by category was mixed. Retail sales were up 3.8 percent from August 2014, while sales tax collections at food-service and drinking establishments increased by 1.3 percent. But spending on services dropped 9.8 percent from August 2014, and manufacturing spending, a traditionally volatile category, was down 2 percent.

Spending, excluding vehicles, within the Baton Rouge city limits was up 2.3 percent in August to nearly $391.3 million. This includes activity at Cortana Mall and for most of the Mall of Louisiana.

Spending outside the city limits, which includes big-box retailers on Siegen Lane, was down 0.2 percent in August to nearly $292.1 million.

Vehicle sales were up 5.4 percent from the year before, reaching nearly $67.3 million for August.

Overall tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales, were up 1.6 percent in August to just over $15 million.

For the first eight months of the year, spending in the parish, excluding vehicle sales, ran 2.8 percent ahead of 2014’s pace to reach $5.5 billion.

Spending is up 6.6 percent in the Baton Rouge city limits, at $3.14 billion. The total is down 1.8 percent outside the city limits, at nearly $2.39 billion. Those numbers have been affected by the annexation of much of the Mall of Louisiana, which took effect in June 2014.

Tax collections for the first eight months of 2015, which includes vehicle sales, are up 3.1 percent to $121.3 million.

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