Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | 1:49 p.m.
CARSON CITY -- For the fourth time in five months this year, taxable sales slumped in Clark County, with car and furniture businesses taking heavy hits.
The state Department of Taxation reported today that 10 of Nevada's 17 counties recorded a decrease in taxable sales for May compared to the same month of 2007.
Gov. Jim Gibbons said, “The sales and use tax collections for the month of May confirm what we have already seen from other economic indications, that Nevada’s economy struggled during the second quarter of 2008.”
In Clark County in April, taxable sales -- one indicator of the economy -- inched up 0.5 percent. But in May the sales fell to $3.031 billion, down 0.5 percent.
The sale of building materials in Southern Nevada fell by 10.5 percent in May, the 23rd straight month of a decline. Furniture business plunged 20.8 percent in May, the 21st consecutive month it has been less than the previous year.
And auto sales in Clark County were off by 12.8 percent, the 19th straight month they have failed to match or exceed the same month of the prior year.
But clothing sales continued strong, up 5.9 percent, and it's the fourth month this year they have posted an increase. The department said general merchandise sales increased 3.1 percent in May but business in bars and restaurants fell 1.3 percent, continuing a decline since November last year.
Taxable sales statewide fell 1.5 percent to $4 billion in May, the seventh month in the last eight that recorded a drop.
For the 14th straight month, Washoe County business fell, off 6.2 percent from a year ago. Carson City’s sales declined 2.5 percent and have yet to see an increase in taxable sales this year.
State collections from the sales tax were $3.1 million below the forecast for fiscal year 2008. Gibbons said, “While slightly lower than expected, these sales and use tax collections are close to the June 2008 Economic Forum projections and don’t require any immediate adjustments to the state budget.
“Despite the overall economic woes, Nevada continues to see strong construction activity in the south and a modest increase in consumer spending,” Gibbons said. He was referring to the construction activities on new hotel-casinos.
Taxes from the sale of cigarettes fell by more than 8 percent and liquor taxes inched up .079 percent.