Regional Economics Information

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Data & Analysis

Consumer Spending - March 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 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

Excel logoData
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

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

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

Consumer Spending

March 2008

Retail
Automobiles
Tourism

Retail
According to state sales tax revenue data, taxable retail sales reflecting activity in January remained weak. Generally, District sales tax receipts were at or below year-earlier levels, and revenues continued to slow.

Automobiles
District new vehicle registrations in 2007 were at their lowest level in several years, dropping by 8 percent for the twelve-month period ending December 2007. The District's declines were led by Florida. Nationally, vehicle registrations were down 3 percent. Most domestic and foreign brands saw declines at the retail level during 2007. The weakening retail demand for autos has resulted in some import dealers switching to the commercial sales market to support revenues.

Data from Automotive News show weak sales of District-assembled vehicles in January and February 2008 compared to same period in 2007. Total sales were down 15 percent from a year earlier for the five companies that have vehicle assembly plants in District states. Only Honda and Mercedes posted increased sales. However, much of this decline was the result of plant-specific supply disruptions. Excluding plants that were idled or closing, District-assembled vehicle sales were down 2 percent from a year earlier.

Tourism
Tourism activity in the District was healthy in early 2008, but reports from industry contacts noted some concern about future activity. The number of visitors to Florida reportedly dipped nearly 2 percent in 2007, the first decline since 2001. An estimated 82.4 million Canadian, overseas, and domestic nonresident tourists visited the state in 2007. This number was down from 83.9 million in 2006. The decline was paced by a drop of 8 percent in the number of tourists arriving by cars, according to Visit Florida, the state's tourism marketing corporation. In response, the state launched an $8.65 million advertising and direct marketing campaign that will run through May to promote Florida tourism. Some contacts in the tourism industry noted that they expect occupancy rates to be lower in the forthcoming months and that visitors would likely be more conservative in their spending patterns because of the general slowdown in U.S. economic activity.

The tourism sector in New Orleans got a boost from big events like Mardi Gras and several high-profile sports events. Annual passenger traffic at the New Orleans airport increased 21 percent in 2007 and was at about three-fourths of the volume handled by the airport before Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Hotel occupancies during Mardi Gras were at 92 percent on average, and, according to initial reports, event attendance was better than in 2007 and close to pre-Katrina levels.

In Mississippi, gaming revenues were $107.6 million in January 2008, near the levels attained during 2007. 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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