Spending in East Baton Rouge Parish by consumers and businesses rose 2.6 percent in August from a year ago, the second month in a row that sales activity increased.
Sales tax collection figures released by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent slightly more than $663 million in August.
The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally examined separately when looking at spending as an economic indicator.
Spending, excluding vehicles, within the city limits was up 5.3 percent in August to $354.8 million. This includes activity at Cortana Mall and on College Drive.
Spending outside the city limits, which includes the Mall of Louisiana and big-box retailers on Siegen Lane, was down 0.2 percent in August to reach nearly $308.2 million.
Vehicle sales jumped dramatically in August from the year before, increasing nearly 26 percent to $62.9 million.
Auto sales are up 13.8 percent through the first eight months of the year.
For the first eight months of 2013, spending in the parish excluding vehicles is down 0.7 percent to nearly $5.25 billion. Spending inside the city limits is practically unchanged from the year before — the increase is slightly less than $336,000 — to come in at $2.78 billion.
But spending outside the city limits has fallen by 1.5 percent to $2.47 billion.
Officials have said these figures are up against year-ago numbers that were buoyed by a national bowling tournament, which boosted key segments from February through July last year.
Tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales, were up 4.3 percent in August to $14.5 million.
For the year, the city-parish has collected $114.8 million, up nearly 0.4 percent.