Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish rose by 2.6 percent in 2015, thanks to increased activity during the holiday shopping season.

Sales tax collection figures released Thursday by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent almost $8.6 billion in 2015. That compares with $8.2 billion in 2014.

The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally examined separately when looking at spending as an economic indicator.

Spending, excluding vehicles, within the Baton Rouge city limits was up 5.6 percent for 2015, to $4.8 billion. But spending outside the city limits of Baton Rouge was down 1.1 percent for the year to nearly $3.7 billion.

Retail sales, which account for almost 52 percent of the economic activity in the parish, were up 3.4 percent for the year. Sales at food service and drinking places, which account for 10 percent of activity, were up by 3.7 percent in 2015. Manufacturing sales, which make up 9 percent of activity, were 1.7 percent higher.

Vehicle sales were up 4.7 percent from the year before to nearly $788.8 million.

Overall tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales, were up nearly 2.8 percent in 2015 to $185 million.

In December, spending in the parish, excluding vehicle sales, was up by 2.7 percent at $823.8 million. That was the biggest month for sales during the year and came after November activity was 3.9 percent better than 2014 figures. Spending was up 2.3 percent in the city limits during December to $462 million. Outside the city limits, activity was up by 3 percent to $361.8 million.

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