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The most recent report from Washington State on local retail sales shows that Clark County consumers are still keep up a good pace in their shopping habits.

Taxable retail sales climbed to $1.3 billion in the second quarter of 2014, from April 1 through June 30, the Washington State Department of Revenue reported Monday November 3.

That was a 9.2 percent increase from the same period of 2013.

Clark County’s retail trade, a subset of total taxable retail sales, rose to $590 million, up 7.4 percent.

Both increases exceeded statewide average increases.  The state’s taxable retail sales reached nearly $31 billion in the second quarter, a 6.8 percent one-year increase. Retail trade statewide was up for the year by 5.4 percent to $13.9 billion.

Statewide, taxable sales were strong  for new and used autos, 6.9 percent; building materials, gardening supplies and equipment, 7.5 percent; new building construction, 9.3 percent; and e-commerce and mail order sales, 20.8 percent.

On the national level US retails sales were up in October.  U.S. retail sales rose a higher-than-expected 0.5 percent last month when stripping out volatile elements like gasoline, autos, building materials and food services, according to the Commerce Department data released on Friday Nov 7.

The increase was the largest since August and supports the view of many  that U.S. consumers are ready to play a bigger role in U.S. economic growth. Projections for this year still call for overall GDP growth of three per cent, which would exceed the past coupe of years.

One the one hand this is all very good news, sales drives employment.  However in conversations with local contractors and members  of the SWCA, construction activity has reached levels that are challenging the existing staffing levels of local companies, and we are starting to see price increases on building materials.  Both of which will make projects have extended time lines and be more expensive.



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