Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish continued to reflect the tough comparisons with the surge in buying that happened after the August 2016 flood, with November sales lagging 12.9 percent behind the totals from the year before.
Just over $786 million was spent in November, according to figures released Friday by the city-parish finance department. That compares with the $902.6 million spent in November 2016. The figures include vehicle sales.
This was the third consecutive month of double-digit sales drops from the year before.
Vehicle sales posted an even bigger drop. The sales were down nearly 54 percent from November 2016, going from $123.3 million to $56.7 million. The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles has said the number of new vehicle titles that were issued in East Baton Rouge Parish in fall 2016 was nearly double the tally for the same period in 2015.
Spending by category was down nearly across the board. Sales at retail trade and food stores, which account for more than half of all spending, fell by 10 percent. Spending on services dropped by 2.5 percent. Restaurants and bars had an 8.5 percent drop in year-over-year activity. Only manufacturing, a traditionally volatile category that can be influenced by the purchases of big-ticket equipment, was up by 8.7 percent from November 2016.
Spending outside the Baton Rouge city limits was down 16.8 percent to nearly $338.1 million from $406.4 million in November 2016.
Inside the city limits, spending was down 9.7 percent to $447.9 million from $496.2 million.
Overall city-parish sales tax collections were down to $15.7 million, compared with $18.1 million in November 2016.
Through the first 11 months of the year, overall sales are up 0.9 percent to nearly $8.9 billion. Spending is up 3 percent in the Baton Rouge city limits to $5 billion. The total is down 1.7 percent outside the city limits to $3.8 billion.
Tax collections for the first 11 months of the year are up to $177.1 million from $175.5 million through November 2016.