|District-Assembled Vehicle Sales Growth 2009–10|
|Source: Automotive News|
|New Vehicle Registrations|
|Source: R.L. Polk|
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, both national and core (excluding autos, gas, and building supplies) retail sales experienced growth in February on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. Core retail sales rose 0.9 percent from January and 2 percent from February of last year. Total retail sales in February rose 0.3 percent from January and 3.5 percent from a year earlier.
January sales tax revenue throughout the Southeast was down from 2009. Sales tax revenues in Alabama, Florida and Georgia declined at a slower pace in February than in January. Sales tax revenues in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee declined at a faster pace in February. For the region overall, sales tax revenue was 6.2 percent lower than in February 2009.
All states in the District, excluding Florida, experienced a decline in sales tax revenue from January to February. January data showed increases across all six states in the District. Sales tax revenue in the District overall was down 2 percent from January to February.
February's District retail report showed some improvement from January. District retail traffic and sales increased as national retail sales rose. Businesses continued to keep inventory levels low, and for the fourth consecutive month all contacts reported they were satisfied with their inventory levels.
The outlook among merchants was optimistic, with almost 71 percent expecting an increase in sales in the coming months, the highest proportion since August of 2007. Only 13 percent of retailers are expecting a decrease in sales in the first few months of 2010, down from 25 percent of retailers in January.
Vehicle sales in the District in February continued to improve from weak levels in 2009, led by small-vehicle segments. Similarly, District-assembled vehicle sales were up 22 percent from weak levels in 2009. Nationally, sales improved 10 percent. Most of the increase in sales was due to Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes, and Nissan.
From January to February, Mississippi's Gulf Coast gaming tax revenues increased 5.8 percent in February, from $90.5 million to just under $95.8 million. However, on a year-over-year basis, revenues continued to decline, decreasing 3.9 percent compared to 2009.
Smith Travel Research included six District cities in its list of the top 25 U.S. tourist markets in March 2010. All six cities—Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, and Tampa—had occupancy rates above the national average of 57.3 percent between February 20 and March 20. Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, and Tampa also had average daily room rates and revenue per room above the national average for the same period. Of the top 25 cities listed by Smith Travel Research, Miami had the highest occupancy rate and the second-highest average daily room rate and revenue per room.
The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureaureported that Greater Miami's leisure and hospitality industry employment in February reached 98.6 percent of the employment reported for the same period in 2009. Approximately 103,600 people were employed in Greater Miami's leisure and hospitality industry in February 2009 and an estimated 102,200 in February 2010.