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Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish increased by 4% in October compared with a year ago.

Nearly $843.3 million was spent in October, according to figures based on tax collections released by the city-parish Finance Department Thursday. That compares with $811.1 million in spending during October 2018. 

Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish increased by 6% in September compared with a year ago.

Just over $825.9 million was spent in September, according to figures based on tax collections released by the city-parish Finance Department. That compares with $779.1 million in spending during September 2018. The figures include vehicle sales.

The increased sales tax collections in September were helped by favorable comparisons. September 2018 saw a slight downtick in business activity, said finance department officials.

Vehicle sales shot up by 22.4% in September compared with the year before. East Baton Rouge shoppers spent $64.1 million on cars, trucks and SUVs, compared with nearly $52.4 million in September 2018.

Spending by category was up across the board. Consumers spent 2.4% more at retail trade and food stores, a category that accounts for nearly half of all the spending in the parish. Spending at restaurants and bars was up by 6.3% and spending on services rose by 12.6%. Spending on manufacturing, a volatile category that can be influenced by purchases of big-ticket equipment items, was up by 18.9% over September 2018.

Outside the city limits, spending rose by 15% to $384.2 million.

Spending inside the city limits of Baton Rouge dropped by 0.8% in September to $441.6 million.

Sales tax collections rose from nearly $15.6 million to $16.5 million.

Through the first nine months of the year, spending is up 1.9% from $7.1 billion to $7.2 billion. Spending is up 3.6% outside the Baton Rouge city limits to $3.2 billion and 0.5% percent inside the city limits to $4 billion.

Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.