Sales tax numbers down in April in Jonesboro and Craighead County, up year-to-date

by George Jared ([email protected]) 207 views 

Sales tax receipts in Jonesboro and Craighead County were down in April when compared to the same month in 2016, but both are on pace to break all time collection numbers for the year.

Jonesboro collected $1.422 million in city sales in the April report, a 2.4% drop from the $1.458 million collected in 2016. To date, the city has collected $6.026 million since Jan. 1, a 2.06% increase from the previous year.

Craighead County also had a similar growth pattern. It collected $1.578 million in county sales tax in April, a 2.6% drop. For the year, the county has collected $6.740 million in county sales tax, a 3.8% uptick from the same time period in 2016.

The city collected $17.326 million in 2016, a 4.43% increase from the previous year. Collections were down during only two months last year – March and June – and the downturn in those months was about 2% combined. This year collections have been down in have been down in February and April.

Craighead County collected $19.372 million in county sales tax in 2016, a 5.2% increase from 2015. The total is also an all-time mark in the county. Since 2010, the county’s sales tax receipts have grown from $15.599 million, a 24% spike. This year April is the only month that collections have been down as compared to 2016.

Jonesboro is often referred to as the “Hub City” in Northeast Arkansas because many in the surrounding communities come to the city for healthcare, to shop, dine, and other activities. Some have suggested its unique geographic position, in the center of Northeast Arkansas and away from many of the other urban areas in the state, gives it an advantage.

Officials have ideas as to why the area continues to experience unprecedented growth. Agencies have studied patterns such as falling gas prices, weather trends, and others, but nothing has proven definitive. The area’s mix of retail, government, agriculture, manufacturing, food, and other jobs give the local economy a broad tax base.

Jonesboro is unusual in the fact that it has had sustained and methodical population growth. The city has averaged increasing its population by 3% every year since the 1970s. It currently has an estimated 77,000 residents.

Unemployment in Jonesboro ticked up one-tenth of a percent to 3.4% in February, but the city still has one of the lowest rates in the state and nation. The raw number of unemployed workers in the city grew by 51, to 1,243. The labor force jumped 1.8% to 36,665. The number of employed workers grew by a little more than 1% to 35,422.

Craighead County’s unemployment number remained unchanged in February at 3.4% The county’s number of employed worked jumped 1.8% to 50,387. The civilian labor force grew more than 1% to 52,180.