Thurston County taxable retail sales increased slightly in the second quarter of the year, according to the state Department of Revenue.
Although sales were still relatively flat, it was the second quarter in a row with a small increase.
Before that, taxable retail sales fell for eight straight quarters in Thurston County, the data show.
Statewide taxable retail sales fell 1 percent to $24.9 billion in the second quarter from the previous year, the data show. Chief Economist Arun Raha said Thursday that April revenue collections were stronger than in March, but that economic activity weakened in May and June. He said the statewide economy is in recovery, although it doesn’t feel like it because growth is so slow. Consumers are holding back, home sales are slow and businesses are sitting on cash, Raha said.
“It’s hard for me to see what is going to fire the recovery,” he said. “If we can get through a few more months with modest increases, confidence will return.”
In Thurston County, overall taxable retail sales largely were unchanged, rising 0.17 percent to $926.3 million in the second quarter of this year from $924.7 million the second quarter of 2009. For the counties largest cities, the data show:
Olympia: Rose 3.25 percent to $425 million from $411.6 million.
Lacey: Fell 3.34 percent to $223.5 million from $231.3 million.
Tuwmater: Fell 4.43 percent to $98.3 million from $102.8 million.
Yelm: Rose 5.07 percent to $37.8 million from $35.9 million.
The state Department of Revenue also releases a separate category of retail sales called retail trade, considered a better reflection of consumer purchases. The data show:
Thurston County: Rose 1.71 percent to $462.7 million from $454.9 million.
Olympia: Rose 3.06 percent to $209.1 million from $202.9 million.
Lacey: Rose 0.28 to $137.2 million from $136.8 million.
Tumwater: Fell 2.33 percent to $47.9 million from $49 million.
Yelm: Rose 2.82 percent to $22.6 million from $22 million.
Some Thurston County cities weathered the recession better than others in the second quarter. In Olympia, retail sales got a boost from the sales of new and used autos, as well as the construction industry, which rose 34 percent to $70.6 million from $52.7 million in the second quarter. Sales of new and used autos rose 16.6 percent to $57.6 million from $49.4 million in the same period, the data show.
Lacey, on the other hand, felt the pinch of a slower construction industry, which fell 33.9 percent to $19.8 million in the second quarter of the year from $30 million in the second quarter of 2009. General merchandise sales in Tumwater, one of the city’s largest retail sales categories, largely were unchanged at $23.6 million, the data show.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 email@example.com www.theolympian.com/bizblog