Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish dropped by less than 1 percent in April, possibly a result of storms that knocked out power to thousands of residents for nearly a week.

Sales tax collection figures released Wednesday by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent almost $671.0 million in April. That compares with $676.3 million in spending in April 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 percent in April to $385.6 million. But spending outside the city limits of Baton Rouge was down by 7.7 percent in April to $285.4 million.

While most categories of business tax collections increased in April, activity at retail trade and grocery stores dropped by 1.1 percent. That makes up nearly half of all business activity.

A line of strong storms knocked out power to nearly 2,700 households for nearly a week in late April.

Vehicle sales tax collections were up 13.1 percent from the year before, reaching nearly $73.5 million.

Overall tax collections for the city-parish, including vehicle sales, were up 0.4 percent in April to reach nearly $14.9 million.

For the first four months of the year, spending in the parish, excluding vehicle sales, was $2.7 billion, 3.9 percent ahead of 2014’s pace.

Spending was up 8.4 percent in the Baton Rouge city limits, at $1.55 billion. The total is down 1.5 percent outside the city limits, at $1.18 billion.

Tax collections through April, including vehicle sales, were up nearly 4.2 percent, and totaled $59.9 million.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.