Consumer Spending - June 2009
May national retail sales, excluding autos, rose 0.5 percent from April; core sales, excluding autos and gasoline, were up 0.1 percent. Retail sales overall remain well below year-earlier levels.
District sales tax collections through May continued to decrease. All District states' sales tax revenues, except Louisiana's, were below year-earlier levels. According to District retailers, May sales were not aligned with the national increase; contacts reported that sales and traffic remained at low levels and that expectations for the coming months were also low.
Through April 2009, the District's new vehicle registrations were 42 percent below year-earlier levels. Florida's vehicle market, in particular, continues to feel the impact of a weak construction industry. New truck registrations in Florida posted the biggest fall, a 45 percent drop from 2008 levels. On a national level, vehicle registrations were down 36 percent from a year earlier.
District vehicle sales posted another disappointing performance in May 2009 compared to a year earlier. Regional import brand dealers posted double-digit sales declines that were much worse than the companies´ comparable national decreases. Sales of District-assembled vehicles during the first five months of 2009 were also down sharply, with all companies reporting double-digit declines from the same period last year.
Tourism activity in the District remained weak in June. General economic conditions have resulted in consumers cancelling vacations, taking shorter trips, and cutting back on expenses. Discounting and promotions to attract visitors were prevalent across the District.
In Mississippi, May gaming revenue collections in the Gulf Coast counties fell to just below $100 million, down 8.0 percent compared to a year earlier; however, revenues were up 6.7 percent on a month-over-month basis.