State’s Economy Weak in October (205)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s economy showed weak growth in October, the first of the three-month Christmas sales season, a University of Tennessee researcher said Friday.

 Dr. Matt Murray of the UT-Knoxville Center for Business and Economic Research said economic activity increased only slightly in October, based on taxes collected in November. The state’s November tax collections were up 0.8 percent compared with the same month a year ago, Murray said.

 “It’s a little discouraging to see the first month of the three-month Christmas buying season show such weak growth,” Murray said. “One explanation is the volatility of the stock market and the slowing of economic growth here in Tennessee.”

 Sales tax collections, the state’s largest revenue producer, were up 2.8 percent while sales nationally advanced 3.9 percent, Murray said.

 Twelve of the state’s revenue categories measured gains for the month and seven declined, Murray said.

Year-to-date tax collections of more than $2 billion continue to reflect “healthy growth” of 5.9 percent, Murray said.

 “Fortunately overall tax collections have done very, very well up to this point, but November revenues must be viewed as a bit of a disappointment,” Murray said. Total tax collections for the month were $463,538,000, up $3,617,000, Murray said.

 Contact: Dr. Matt Murray (423-974-5441)