Thurston County taxable retail sales rose more than 3 percent in the third quarter, another sign that economic activity here and throughout the state is slowly starting to improve, according to state Department of Revenue data released this week.
The state also eked out a small amount of growth in the same period as taxable retail sales statewide rose 0.2 percent to $26.5 billion from $26.4 billion, the data show.
“We expect year-over-year growth to continue and that there will be more growth in the first quarter (of 2011) than in the fourth quarter (of 2010),” Eric Swenson, a senior economist with the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, said Thursday.
Thurston County taxable retail sales overall rose 3.43 percent in the year-over-year third-quarter period to $1 billion from $970.3 million, the data show, a much-improved showing after retail sales fell for two consecutive years here before starting to grow again in 2010.
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Overall third-quarter data for the county’s four largest cities in 2010/2009 show:
Olympia: Rose 4.60 percent to $456 million from $435.9 million.
Lacey: Rose 0.29 percent to $239.6 million from $239 million.
Tumwater: Fell 4.33 percent to $104.7 million from $109.4 million.
Yelm: Rose 14.43 percent to $41 million from $35.8 million.
The state releases a separate category of taxable retail sales called “retail trade,” which is considered a better measure of consumer purchases. The third quarter 2010/2009 data show:
Thurston County: Rose 3.33 percent to $492.8 million from $477 million.
Olympia: Rose 1.12 percent to $218.9 million from $216.4 million.
Lacey: Rose 5.53 percent to $151.3 million from $143.4 million.
Tumwater: Rose 4.96 percent to $55.4 million from $52.8 million.
Yelm: Rose 8.20 percent to $23 million from $21.3 million.
Retail sales were strong in Lacey during the third quarter, but those numbers were pulled lower by the sluggish construction industry, falling 31 percent, the data show. Tumwater, too, experienced a 30 percent drop in retail sales generated by construction, while construction activity in Olympia and Yelm rose in the year-over-year third-quarter period.
Taxable retail sales generated by construction in Olympia increased 20.8 percent to $77.6 million from $64.2 million, while in Yelm it nearly doubled, rising 96.4 percent to $6.115 million from $3.113 million, the data show.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 email@example.com www.theolympian.com/bizblog