Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish dropped by 3.5 percent in September compared to a year ago.

Just over $779.0 million was spent in September, according to figures released by the city-parish finance department. That compares with nearly $807.6 million in spending during September 2017. The figures include vehicle sales.

Vehicle sales dropped by 14.1 percent in September compared to the year before. East Baton Rouge shoppers spent nearly $52.4 million on cars, trucks and SUVs, compared with $61.4 million in September 2017.

Spending by category was down nearly across the board. Consumers spent 2.3 percent less at retail trade and food stores, a category which accounts for more than half of all the spending in the parish. Spending also was down on services, by 8.5 percent, and restaurants and bars, 1.8 percent. But spending on manufacturing, a volatile category that can be influenced by purchases of big-ticket equipment items, was up 0.5 percent over September 2017.

Spending inside the city limits of Baton Rouge dropped by 4.8 percent in September to $445.1 million. Outside the city limits, spending was down by 1.9 percent to $334 million.

Sales tax collections dropped from nearly $16.2 million to $15.6 million.

Through the first nine months of the year, spending is down 2.4 percent from nearly $7.3 billion to $7.1 billion.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.