Regional Economics Information

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Data & Analysis

Consumer Spending - April 2008

Data Sources on the Web
Alabama Department of Revenue
Automotive News
Florida Department of Revenue
Georgia Department of Revenue
Louisiana Department of Revenue
Mississippi State Tax Commission
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau
New Orleans International Airport
R.L. Polk
Visit Florida
Excel logoData
Revenue Sales Growth
Revenue Sales Growth
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Source: State Departments of Revenue

New Vehicle Registrations
New Vehicle Registrations
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Source: R.L. Polk

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District-Assembled and National Vehicle Sales Growth 2007—08
District-Assembled and National Vehicle Sales Growth 2006-07
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Source: Automotive News

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New Orleans Airport Passenger Traffic
New Orleans Airport Passenger Traffic
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Source: New Orleans International Airport

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Mississippi Gaming Tax Revenue
Mississippi Gaming Tax Revenue
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Source: Mississippi State Tax Commission
Data and Analysis

Consumer Spending

April 2008

Retail
Automobiles
Tourism

Retail
State tax revenue reports indicate that taxable retail sales in February remained weak. Generally, sales were flat on a year-over-year basis.

According to an informal survey of District retailers, sales remained weak during March. Most contacts reported that sales continued to decline in March compared with a year earlier. More contacts in March reported that sales did not meet expectations. Inventory levels were mixed compared with a year earlier while nearly half the contacts reported, as they did in February, that inventories were too high. The outlook among retailers was mixed, but sentiment was slightly more positive than in February.

Automobiles
District vehicle sales appear to have remained weak though March. For instance, new vehicle registrations through March were 6.2 percent below year-earlier levels, only a slight improvement from the previous month’s decline. Nationally, comparable vehicle registrations were down 3 percent. Generally, the District declines were led by lower truck registrations.

Data from Automotive News show that District-assembled vehicle sales during the first quarter were down 15 percent from comparable 2007 levels. Mercedes was the only company reporting gains during early 2008. Honda, Hyundai, and Nissan sales dropped sharply, and some plants are reporting slowdowns in production to deal with higher-than-desired inventory levels.

Tourism
Tourism activity in the District was strong through the first quarter. International visitors are boosting tourism in the region, particularly in Florida and New Orleans. Data for 2007 indicate that the overall number of visitors to Florida declined 2 percent compared to 2006, but visitors from Canada were up 10 percent. Southwest Florida numbers were stronger for 2007, with a 5 percent increase in the number of visitors going through Southwest Florida International Airport. The lower value of the dollar is expected to continue to attract foreign tourists as well as compel some U.S. residents to travel domestically as a substitute for expensive international travel. Cruise ships also reported strong business and were targeting international visitors. Some cruise lines were expecting sharp increases in international business this year even as U.S. business was expected to be somewhat weaker.

According to data from the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city hosted 7.1 million international visitors in 2007, almost twice the number of visitors in 2006. Tourism continues to be on a strong recovery path for the city as recent reports indicate strong international bookings this year, especially from the United Kingdom.

After being damaged by a tornado in March, the Georgia World Congress Center reopened its main building on April 21, and all three were buildings completely operational by April 28.

In Mississippi, gaming revenues were $120.9 million in March, up from February. From a revenue perspective, the state’s gaming sector has recovered from the devastation Hurricane Katrina caused to the coastal casinos.


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