Consumer spending in Leon County continues to outpace the rate of spending in 2015, but is still short of the spending reported in 2014.
The latest information from the Florida Department of revenue shows that the annual rate of spending in 2016 is 3.9% ahead of the annual rate reported one year ago.
The bar chart below compares the first five months of spending trends in Leon County since 2012. The information show that Leon county spending is 3.5% ahead of 2015 and 2.51% below the level in 2014.
At the national level, spending continues to rebound from a sluggish start to the year. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity has increased over the last two months. This spending, is in part being driven by a healthy automobile sector. Auto sales rose to a 17.88 million-unit annual rate last month, the highest since November 2015, from a 16.74 million-unit pace in June, according to data from Autodata. This is a 6.9% increase.
Auto sales are also a significant part of the growth in spending here locally. The table below shows seven of the major contributors to growth in Leon County spending during the first part of this year as compared to 2015.
During the first five months of this years, consumers in Leon County have spent $415.6 million on automobiles. This is 7.3% higher than the $387.5 million reported at during the same period last year.
The Consumer Electronics and Computer category led the group with a 23.1% increase in spending over the same period last year. Next in line were Home Furnishings and Automotive Dealers coming in at 8.5% and 7.3%, respectively. Spending on Hotel/Motel Accommodations, Restaurants, and Building Materials rounded out the top six.
It is important to note that while spending is up from last year, the rate of growth has slowed over the last two months. This is due to historical spending patterns in Leon County that slow during the summer due to seasonal jobs that become vacant.