Statewide sales edge down 0.3 percent

Statewide taxable sales for June fell 0.3 percent from June 2009, state officials said Thursday.

Clark County sales were down 1 percent.

But the statewide figure of $3.33 billion was affected by an amnesty program. Without amnesty, taxable sales would have been $3.29 billion, a 1.5 percent decrease.

Statewide sales show a 10.3 percent drop for the fiscal year ending in June, and Clark County sales fell by even more for the year, 10.9 percent.

"A 10 percent decline year over year is extremely painful in terms of revenue, but the numbers will slowly become less painful," said Jeff Thredgold, economist for Nevada State Bank. He has noticed a similar trend in gaming numbers.

"The fact that the monthly numbers are getting closer to zero shows some stabilization," Thredgold said.

"Clearly, most of the pain is behind Nevada," he said.

In fact, the Nevada sales tax numbers delivered some good news to lawmakers and state officials.

They beat the projections made in January by the Economic Forum, the group of five business leaders who by law determine how much the state can spend.

In January, the forum determined the 2 percent sales tax going to the state would be $730 million, a drop of 13.4 percent from the previous year. The report shows it dropped by 10.28 percent for the fiscal year and the state got $757 million, or $27 million more than what was expected. That means the state government's shortfall did not worsen but was reduced.

Thredgold related the taxable sales numbers to the national and global economy.

The U.S. economy has been growing since the third quarter of 2009, he said, and the global economy started gaining about 10 months ago, but the country's and the world's growth rates are now slowing, he said.

The economist said the chances of a double-dip recession in the United States are higher than they were six months ago. But the consensus of economists is that the odds of another bout of recession are only one in four.

In Clark County, some business categories sold more goods and services during June.

Taxable sales of motor vehicle and parts dealers dropped 7 percent in June, compared with a 8.1 percent decrease for the complete fiscal year.

General merchandise stores picked up 4.7 percent in sales in June, ending the year off 0.8 percent.

Clothing and accessory stores sales jumped 14.6 percent in June and closed the fiscal year with a 2.7 percent gain.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores rose 6.2 percent in June while falling 9.6 percent for the year. Food and beverage store sales slipped 2.4 percent in June and registered a 3.2 percent decline for the year.

Patrons of food services and drinking places tossed down 5.5 percent more in June, reducing the yearly decline to 1.2 percent.

Review-Journal Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel contributed to this report.