Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish rose by 1.2% in March compared to a year ago.
Just over $863.2 million was spent in March, according to figures released by the city-parish finance department Monday. That compares with $852.6 million in spending during March 2018. The figures include vehicle sales.
Vehicle sales were down by 9.8% in March compared with the year before. East Baton Rouge shoppers spent $60.8 million on cars, trucks and SUVs, compared with $67.5 million in March 2018.
Spending by category was mixed. Consumers spent 1% less at retail trade and food stores, a category that accounts for more than half of all the spending in the parish. Spending also was down in restaurants and bars, by 1.8%. But spending on services rose by 4.6% and manufacturing, a volatile category that can be influenced by purchases of big-ticket equipment items, was up by 23.7% percent over March 2018.
Spending inside the city limits of Baton Rouge was up by 2% to $490 million. Outside the city limits, spending rose by 0.2% to $373.2 million.
Sales tax collections rose from $17.1 million to almost $17.3 million.
Through the first three months of the year, spending is up 2.5% percent from $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion. Spending is up 4.6% outside the city limits and 1% inside the Baton Rouge city limits.