Economic picture brightens: Sales figures up; weaknesses in retail

Economic picture brightens: Sales figures up; weaknesses in retail

SEPT. 2003 – ELKO – Elko County’s taxable sales rose in May and June over last year, and the number of people flying out of Elko’s airport on Casino Express were up over May and June of last year, according to new figures.

The numbers of SkyWest Airlines passengers were down for May and June, however, according to the report provided by the city’s accounting manager, Dawn Stout.

These lower passenger counts for SkyWest Airlines illustrate why Elko and the airline have started a campaign to increase passenger numbers.

“The ad campaign didn’t start until August,” Stout said, so future statistics should show whether the campaign is making a difference.

“The good news is that sales are up 6.8 percent for June,” Stout said, adding that the May sales were up 5.2 percent.

“It’s a good sign … and hopefully the economy is turning around,” she said.

The increased sales were in mining and construction, but retail sales were down both months. June retail sales were down 2 percent, from $13,782,965 to $13,461,864, and May retail sales also were down 3 percent, at $12,485,782, compared with $12,878,263 in May 2002.

Elko County’s taxable sales totaled $66,645,415 in June, up $4,227,342 over the June 2002 total sales of $62,418,073, and the biggest hikes was in construction sales, which were up 81 percent.

Sales of construction materials totaled $2,717,106 in June, compared with $1,497,758 in June of last year.

Elko County’s taxable sales in May totaled $60,406,392, up $2,995,301 from the $57,411,091 in sales in May 2002, according to Stout’s figures.

The biggest increase was in mining, up 57 percent, to $1,717,672, from $1,090,726.

Figures for Elko Regional Airport show that enplanements in June totaled 6,595 for Casino Express, compared with 4,791 in June 2002, and May enplanements for Casino Express totaled 6,408, compared with 6,318 last year.

The number of passengers flying out of Elko on SkyWest planes totaled 1,972 in June, compared with 2,514 in June 2002, and the May enplanements for SkyWest also totaled 1,972, compared with 2,336 in May 2002.

Delta Airlines took over the bookings and scheduling for SkyWest into the Elko airport for 18 months, but SkyWest resumed control this summer to try to boost passenger numbers.

Elko’s governmental entities and local media joined forces to help increase those numbers to keep the same number of flights for Elko, including four to and from Salt Lake City and two flights to and from Reno.

Gaming revenue figures for June are another economic indicator, and Stout’s figures show that the total for Elko County outside West Wendover was $8,717,829, compared with $8,577,067 in May 2002.

West Wendover’s revenue totaled $11,699,286 in June, up from $10,912,024 in June 2002.

For May, gaming revenues for the rest of Elko County totaled $8,843,595, down from $8,963,226 in May 2002, and for West Wendover, the May revenues totaled $8,839,936, down from $10,155,230 in May 2002.

Room taxes and motel occupancy rates also provide an economic picture, and the room taxes received in June totaled $172,340, compared with $163,072 in June 2002.

As earlier reported at the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority meetings, the percentage of rooms occupied in June was up to 56 percent from 54 percent.

The motor privilege taxes received in June totaled $261,645, up from $176,883 in June 2002, the figures also show. The May total was $214,205.

In a breakdown of the June sales, the figures show that mining was up 51 percent, from $1,352,202 to $2,045,299, while chemicals were down 30 percent, from $366,944 last year to $258,385, and industrial machinery sales were up 34 percent, from $2,067,091 to $2,759,630.

Transportation, communications and utilities sales were down 8 percent, from $884,547 last year to $815,957, and wholesale trade sales were up 24 percent, from $10,946,109 last year to $13,627,585 this year.

Building materials and hardware sales were up 6 percent, from $2,383,097 to $2,535,487, and automotive and gasoline sales were up 11 percent, from $10,015,184 to $11,148,735.

Home furniture and furnishings sales were down 13 percent, however, at $1,073,412, compared with $1,232,274 last year, while eating and drinking places showed little change, with sales of $6,112,190 this June and sales of $6,086,410 last June.

Business services were down 24 percent, from $2,056,202 to $1,553,412, and repair services were down 26 percent, from $3,780,660 to $2,805,495 and amusement and recreation sales also were down, 14 percent from $3,481,673 to $3,002,588.

Miscellaneous sales were up 10 percent, however, at $2,728,270, compared with $2,483,876 last year.

In May, construction sales were up 52 percent, at $2,664,516, compared with $1,747,831 in May 2002, while chemical sales were up 55 percent, to $598,083 from $386,945, and industrial machinery sales were up 32 percent, to $2,829,940 from $2,139,241.

Transportation, communication and utilities category sales were up 7 percent, at $628,978, compared with $585,313 last year, while wholesale sales were up 16 percent, at $11,731,992, compared with $10,089,631 last year.

Building materials and hardware sales were down 3 percent, to $2,294,706, compared with $2,369,718 in May 2002, and automotive and gasoline sales were up 8 percent, to $10,072,458 from $9,348,712 last year.

Home furniture and furnishings sales totaled $1,690,820 in June, up 39 percent over the $1,214,290 in such sales in May 2002, but eating and drinking places sales were down 1 percent, to $5,521,484, compared with $5,573,747 last year.

Amusement and recreation sales were down 11 percent, to $1,125,131 from $1,981,314, while miscellaneous sales were up 6 percent to $2,093,117 from $1,981,314 in May 2002.