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Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- 

Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish is 15.8% higher through June when compared to the first half of 2020.

Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish is 15.8% higher through June when compared to the first half of 2020.

More than $5.3 billion was spent in the first half of the year, compared to $4.6 billion as of June 2020, according to figures released Monday by the city-parish Finance Department. Consumer and business spending was crippled in the spring of 2020, because of lockdowns put in place to control the spread of COVID. That kept people from dining out, shopping in malls and getting haircuts.

For a pre-pandemic comparison, nearly $4.8 billion was spent across the parish in in the first six months of 2019.

Vehicle sales posted an even bigger increase, going up 30.7% from $368.3 million to $481.5 million.

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Spending in most categories was up compared to 2020. Retail and grocery sales, which account for 54.9% of all activity in the parish, was up by 20.4%; in restaurants and bars, 35.5%; and services, 17.2%. Manufacturing, a volatile category that can be influenced by the purchase of big-ticket equipment, was down 19.5% from the year before.

Inside the city limits, spending was up 22.1% through June to come in at $3.1 billion. That compares to $2.5 billion in spending through June 2020.

The increase was smaller for spending in the parish. There was $2.2 billion spent through June, an 8% increase from the first half of 2020, when $2.1 billion was spent in the area.

Sales tax collections for the first six months were nearly $106.8 million, compared to $92.2 million through June 2020.


Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.