By Ed Fincher
For the last three months, reported sales tax revenues for Archuleta County have been below what they were for the same period last summer, indicating the economic recovery has yet to fully trickle down to Pagosa Country.
Sales tax revenue for July 2012 totaled $631,648, a decrease of $13,834 or 2.14 percent when compared to July 2011, according to Archuleta County Finance Director Diane Sorensen.
In May sales tax revenue was down by 14.5 percent from 2011 and in June it was down by .6 percent. However, the last three months of decline still haven’t completely eaten away at the four months worth of growth from January to April.
The year-to-date sales tax revenue is $3,485,862, which is still up by .36 percent compared to last year.
While the largest sector of the local economy, retail trade, increased sales tax revenue by $8,056 or 2.7 percent over July 2011 to $303,643, it was not enough of a gain to offset the drop in the second largest sector, accommodation and food services, which fell by $18,715 or 12.5 percent to $131,419.
Construction saw significant growth (up $3,487 or 49.6 percent to $10,524) alongside manufacturing (up $7,291 or 23 percent to $38,501), but this growth was almost perfectly matched by a downturn in real estate and rental and leasing (down $10,447 or 33.4 percent to $20,821).
Utilities, wholesale trade, educational services, professional, scientific and technical services, and health care and social assistance all saw modest gains of a few dollars or a few percentage points.
Utilities were up by $1,290 or 3.8 percent to $35,311. Wholesale trade was up by $969 or 3.8 percent to $26,554. Educational services were up by $33 or 7 percent to $504. Professional, scientific and technical services were up by $677 or 39 percent to $2,412. Health care and social assistance was up from $5 to $59, a large percentage of growth for such a small sector of the economy.
However, there were somewhat substantial declines in mining, information, finance and insurance, administrative, support and waste management, and arts, entertainment and recreation.
Mining was down by $809 or 16 percent to $4,358. Information was down by $6,586 or 19.8 percent to $26,657. Finance and insurance was down by $318 or 26.3 percent to $889. Administrative, support and waste management was down by $767 or 21.2 percent to $2,843. Arts, entertainment and recreation was down by $738 or 16.8 percent to $3,643.
After a closer examination, the substantial rise in manufacturing and construction could indicate a strengthening of the local economy, while the decline in accommodation and food services and real estate could point more to the state of the economy in other parts of the country — perhaps signalling that tourists couldn’t afford to travel to Pagosa Country for vacations this summer, and others were postponing purchase of a house and relocation.