AP News

Nevada sales up 1.7 percent in December

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Taxable sales in Nevada rose 1.7 percent in December from the same month in 2012, with notable gains in sales of vehicles and parts, building and garden supplies, and professional and technical services, the state reported Wednesday.

Merchants statewide sold $4.4 billion in goods, on which the state collected $344.7 million in sales and use taxes, according to the Department of Taxation. Revenue climbed 2.4 percent from December 2012.

In Northern Nevada's Washoe County, sales rose 13.1 percent to $624.3 million. Clark County in southern Nevada, the state's population hub, saw sales climb 2.5 percent to $3.2 billion.

Seven of Nevada's 17 counties saw an increase in sales activity in December compared with the same month a year earlier. The exceptions were Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral and Nye. In rural areas, the purchase of massive, expensive mining equipment often creates huge swings in monthly sales figures.

Statewide, sales of building materials and garden supplies rose 53.4 percent, while vehicles sales were up 11.5 percent. Professional, scientific and technical services posted a 26.6 percent gain. Sales were up 4.8 percent at clothing and accessory stores, and 27.3 percent at miscellaneous retailers.

On the downside, the construction industry, which had been rebounding in recent months, saw sales decline 14.8 percent.

Accommodations, a key indicator on the health of Nevada's vital tourism industry, saw an increase of 28.2 percent, but activity at bars and restaurants was almost flat, posting a decline of 0.3 percent.

The portion of sales tax revenues that support the state general fund totaled $87.5 million for the month, an increase of nearly 3.8 percent. But for the fiscal year that began July 1, those revenues are 2.7 percent or $12.7 million below projections made in May by the Economic Forum, an independent panel that forecasts all state collections which Nevada's two-year budget is based.

Quarterly payroll taxes collected in December totaled $100.7 million, up 1 percent from 2012.

Monthly excise taxes collected on such things as cigarettes, liquor and live entertainment rose 7.6 percent to $117.2 million.

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