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Taxable sales, unemployment rates drop

Taxable sales in Nye County dropped 49.3 percent in March, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation, but that is compared to March 2013, when taxable sales were near their peak, due to construction of the SolarReserve plant near Tonopah.

That plant has finished construction and is now going through the commissioning phase.

Taxable sales for specialty trade contractors, a category that includes companies building renewable energy facilities, fell 87.7 percent in Nye County from March 2013 to March 2014. That category made up almost half of all taxable sales in March 2013, with $42.25 million, this year that category had only $5.2 million in taxable sales.

Overall, taxable sales in Nye County for March 2014 were $44.3 million, down from $87.3 million in March 2013. For the first nine months of the fiscal year that began July 1, 2013, Nye County taxable sales are down 14.7 percent, from $583.7 million to $479.8 million.

Motor vehicle and parts dealers saw a 4 percent drop in sales in March 2014 from a year earlier, for the fiscal year, their taxable sales dropped 8.5 percent. Taxable sales of building material and garden equipment fell 4.2 percent, from $2.98 million to $2.86 million. General merchandise stores had a 3.1 percent decline in taxable sales, from $4.38 million in March 2013 to $4.25 million this year.

Taxable sales for rental and leasing services were down sharply, 47.9 percent, to $872,314 in March 2014 from $1.67 million in March 2013. Food services and drinking places saw taxable sales go down 1.4 percent from a year ago, from $3.93 million to $3.87 million.

Merchant wholesalers of durable goods reported a 29.6 percent drop from March 2013 to March 2014, from $4.57 million to $3.2 million. Chemical manufacturing taxable sales were down 22.3 percent from $3.49 million to $2.7 million. Machinery manufacturing taxable sales fell 10.5 percent, from $1.97 million to $1.76 million from March 2013 to March 2014.

Some economic categories saw major increases this year. They included non-store retailers, with a 115.8 percent increase in taxable sales, from $787,459 to $1.7 million. Support activities for mining had 46 percent more taxable sales this March, increasing from $732,485 to $1.07 million. Heavy and civil engineering construction showed a 197 percent increase in taxable sales, from $540,250 to $1.59 million.

Statewide, taxable sales increased 7.9 percent over March 2013. Statewide food services and drinking places had a 9.7 percent increase, miscellaneous store retailers a whopping 131.1 percent increase, support activities for mining were up 767.3 percent, while motor vehicle and parts dealers had a 7.8 percent increase in taxable sales.

Despite the almost 15 percent drop in taxable sales for the fiscal year, consolidated tax collections in Nye County are still a healthy $9.9 million for the first nine months, that includes sales, cigarette, liquor, real personal property tax and a general services tax. That’s because tax breaks for renewable energy companies didn’t bring in a corresponding increase in consolidated tax to the taxable sales collected. The amount collected so far this year, with one quarter remaining, is about 71 percent of the consolidated tax collections in the last 2012-13 fiscal year in Nye County of $13.96 million.

Unemployment rate drops

The Nye County unemployment rate went down from 10.1 percent in March to 8.3 percent in April, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. DETR statistics actually show 33 fewer workers, from 15,711 in March to 15,678 in April, but there was a larger drop in the labor force of 363 workers, from 17,469 workers to 17,106, with a corresponding 330 fewer people unemployed.

Bill Anderson, an economist with DETR, said it’s more important to make a comparison with the previous year, due to seasonal trends in employment. The Nye County 8.3 percent unemployment rate in April 2014 was down from 12 percent in April 2013, however there was a larger work force in April 2013 in Nye County, of 17,500 workers, compared to a DETR estimate of 17,106 workers this April. The labor force was 17,469 workers in March 2014.

Anderson said the unemployment rate is calculated by a monthly survey of 1,000 households in the state. In addition to that they use initial claims for unemployment insurance and a monthly survey of businesses.

Gaming win increases

The gaming win for holders of the 11 non-restricted gaming licenses in Nye County went up a healthy 6.79 percent in April, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Casinos took in a $4.45 million win compared to $4.17 million in April 2013. For the quarter, the gaming win rose 5.24 percent, to $13.13 million from $12.48 million, but for the last year, from May 1, 2013 through April 30, 2014, the Nye County gaming win dropped 1.4 percent from $48.47 million to $47.8 million.

The overwhelming majority of the Nye County gaming win, as usual, came from slot machines, $4.32 million of the $4.45 million in April.

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