EBR consumer spending flat in April

Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish was virtually unchanged in April when compared with the year before, rising less than 0.2 percent.

Sales tax collection figures released Monday by the city-parish Finance Department showed businesses and consumers spent $676.3 million in April. That compares with $675 million in April 2013.

The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally examined separately when looking at spending as an economic indicator.

Retail and grocery sales, which account for more than half of all spending, were up by 3.4 percent over the previous year. Restaurant and bar sales increased by 3 percent. But manufacturing spending plummeted by 21 percent.

Spending outside the city limits, which includes the Mall of Louisiana and big-box retailers on Siegen Lane, was down 1.6 percent in April to $309 million.

Spending, excluding vehicles, within the city limits was up nearly 1.8 percent in April to $367.2 million. This includes activity at Cortana Mall and on College Drive.

Vehicle sales were up 2.1 percent from the year before, coming in at $65 million for the month.

Tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales, were up 0.4 percent in April to $14.9 million.

For the first four months of 2014, spending in the parish, excluding vehicle sales, is 1.6 percent ahead of 2013’s pace, to reach nearly $2.63 billion. Total sales tax collections, including vehicle sales taxes, are up by 1.6 percent, to nearly $57.5 million.

Spending is up 4.4 percent in the city limits, at $1.43 billion. Outside the city limits, spending is down 1.5 percent, at $1.19 billion.