By Mark Waite
Nye County taxable sales plunged 11.2 percent in December, but figures are still up 22.1 percent for calendar year 2011.
December 2011 taxable sales were the second highest monthly totals for the year, $43.36 million, but still below the $48.83 million in December 2010.
That reverses two straight months of gains over 2010 figures and an entire year of monthly sales tax improvements over 2010, except for September, which is compared to an unusually large figure in September 2010 of $61 million.
Elko, Humboldt, White Pine and Storey counties also had decreases in taxable sales in December, according to a Nevada Department of Taxation report released this week, Elko sales dropped 51.8 percent.
Nye County consolidated tax collections for December totaled $1.19 million and $6.6 million halfway through the county fiscal year that began July 1. That’s about on track with the $13 million collected in fiscal year 2010-11 ending last July 1. The consolidated tax includes mostly sales tax, but also cigarette taxes, liquor taxes, real property transfer tax and government services tax.
“From a growth standpoint, you have to be impressed with Nye County’s future. You’ve now had 16 consecutive months of increases in taxable sales. Before that you had 38 consecutive months in which they declined, year over year,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst for Applied Analysis.
But Aguero was hesitant to pronounce a recovery, without a sustained increase in employment. In one year the Nye County unemployment rate dropped from 17.7 percent to 15.3 percent, but he said the reality of it is the number of jobs created isn’t even into the hundreds.
“We’ve seen a relatively dramatic increase in specialty trade contractors. These are construction contractors that are in a specific trade. We’ve seen these numbers up 200 percent over a year ago. That would certainly be an indication of improvement. You’ve also got improvements in durable goods that are growing at a faster rate. That would suggest growth,” Aguero said.
When told about the new Pahrump jail project and the Valley Electric transmission line, Aguero said that could be generating those sales taxes.
Sales taxes from merchant wholesalers of durable goods are up 25 percent in 2011, those are goods lasting longer than one year, an indication people are investing in the long term, Aguero said. Could that be from projects like the expansion of Round Mountain Gold? That’s one potential cause.
Aguero said two of the most important sales tax categories that would reflect economic recovery are taxable sales from auto sales and taxes from eating and drinking establishments. Those are up less than the other categories.
Statewide, taxable sales were up 3.8 percent in December, the largest increases were in food services and drinking places, up 8.8 percent; clothing and clothing accessory stores, up 12.9 percent; motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 15.3 percent and merchant wholesalers of durable goods up 14.2.
Among the larger sales categories in Nye County, the 52 motor vehicle and parts dealers recorded a 15.2 percent drop in taxable sales in December, from $4.69 million to $3.97 million.
The 331 merchant wholesalers of durable goods saw taxable sales decline 21.8 percent from $4.65 million to $3.64 million in December 2011.
Machinery manufacturing, which includes 22 vendors, dropped 76.4 percent, from $8.97 million to $2.12 million, enough to account for the entire decrease in December.
Data from 92 food service and drinking places show Nye County taxable sales dropped 11.6 percent in December, from $3.45 million to $3.05 million.
Taxable sales from administrative and support services were down 31.4 percent, a drop from $1.95 million to $1.34 million.
The 46 general merchandise stores listed in the report, had a 2.1 percent decrease in taxable sales, a drop from $5.57 million to $5.46 million.
But on the plus side, the 60 specialty trade contractors registered an 884.7 percent increase in taxable sales in December, from $289,187 to $2.85 million.
Chemical manufacturing taxable sales went up 29.8 percent, from $2.03 million to $2.64 million.
The 174 non-store retailers reported an increase of 25.8 percent in taxable sales, from $1.24 million to $1.56 million.
Taxable sales from 105 rental and leasing services tallied up an 11.6 percent increase in taxable sales, increasing from $1.19 million to $1.33 million.