EBR spending rebounds in July

Spending in East Baton Rouge Parish by consumers and businesses rose 3.1 percent in July from a year ago, rebounding after two consecutive months of decreasing activity.

Officials have noted that these figures are up against year-ago numbers that were buoyed by a national bowling tournament, which boosted key segments from February through July of last year.

Sales tax collection figures released by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent nearly $657.4 million in July. The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally examined separately when looking at spending as an economic indicator.

For the first seven months of 2013, spending in the parish is down 1.2 percent to nearly $4.59 billion. Spending outside the city limits has fallen by 1.7 percent to $2.16 billion and has dropped by 0.7 percent in the city limits to $2.43 billion.

Vehicle sales jumped dramatically in July from the year before, increasing 17 percent to nearly $64.8 million. Auto sales are up 12.3 percent through the first seven months of the year.

Spending, excluding vehicles, outside the city limits, which includes the Mall of Louisiana and big-box retailers on Siegen Lane, was up 6 percent in July to reach nearly $321.7 million. Spending within the city limits, which includes Cortana Mall, was up 0.4 percent to $335.7 million.

Tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales, were up 4.2 percent in July to $14.4 million. For the year, the city-parish has collected $100.3 million, down nearly 0.2 percent.