Consumer Spending - July 2010

The retail sales report showed a slowing pace of consumer spending in June.

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, total retail sales fell 0.5 percent in June. On a year-over-year basis, total retail sales were up 4.8 percent in June.
  • Core retail sales (total excluding gas, autos, and building supplies) increased 0.2 percent in June, following a downwardly revised –0.2 percent in May and –0.4 percent in April. On a year-over-year basis, core retail sales were up 3.9 percent.

Districtwide, consumer spending improved compared with last year but still remains tepid.

  • For the region overall, sales tax revenue was 1.3 percent higher than in June 2009.

Although most states have experienced an improvement over the past few months, sales tax revenue is still soft across the District.

Consumer confidence fell further in July, with most of the Southeast below the overall level of consumer confidence.

  • According to the Conference Board, overall consumer confidence fell 4 points to 50.4 from June to July.
  • Consumer confidence in the divisions in the Southeast remain low.

Overall, tourism continued to show signs of improvement compared with last year, but the outlook is tempered by the unknown impact of the oil spill in the Gulf and the flooding in Tennessee.

  • Smith Travel Research included six District cities in its list of top 25 U.S. tourist markets. Of those, Nashville, New Orleans, and Orlando all had hotel occupancy rates above the national average of 65 in June.
  • Reports from Miami and New Orleans indicated that business-related travel and convention bookings remained positive. Leisure travel was positive in most District destinations except for the Gulf Coast, where significant concerns were reported over the oil spill and its impact on tourism.
  • Hospitality contacts in the affected area remarked that some canceled bookings have been replaced by the presence of cleanup crews, oil company workers, and the National Guard. Similarly, contacts in Tennessee noted that hotel occupancy has held up because of workers and displaced residents.
  • Contacts not located along the Gulf coast have stated that bookings have increased as a result of deflected business from oil-affected areas.

Mississippi gaming tax revenues decreased in June.

  • From May to June, Mississippi's Gulf Coast gaming tax revenues decreased from $95.2 million to $87.3 million.

District-assembled vehicle sales increased 30 percent, ahead of the nation's pace.

  • June's District-assembled vehicle sales jumped 30 percent from 2009 levels, led by rising volumes from Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes, and Nissan.
  • Hyundai-Kia sales jumped 96 percent on a year-over-year basis. One-third of the company's gains came from sales of the new Kia Sorento crossover.

District vehicle registrations continued to improve in May.

  • District vehicle registrations in May continued to improve from low vehicle counts reported in 2009, rising 26.6 percent.
  • Nationally, new vehicle registrations were up 17.9 percent on a year-over-year basis.