TAXABLE SALES REPORTED TO WYOMING’S Department of Revenue and Taxation in April totaled $87.3 million, a sharp 23% drop over the amount reported in April 2019. A one- to two-month lag separates actual sales and when taxes are reported by the state, so April’s number generally reflects sales in, give or take March, i.e., when COVID-19 shut down the winter tourism season halfway through the month. Monthly figures can vary wildly, so that number should be taken with a grain of salt. That noted, this 23% drop is the biggest monthly drop since December 2012. During the fiscal year ending in April, all of Teton County’s taxable sales totaled $1.632 billion, 3.9% higher than during the previous 12 months.

Source: State of Wyoming

LOOKING AT LONGER-TERM TAXABLE SALES trends, the graph above shows the 12-month running totals of Teton County’s total taxable sales since April 1998. In the past decade-plus, total taxable sales peaked in the fall of 2008, went into a precipitous decline until summer 2010 and then stayed relatively flat until the fall of 2011. Since early 2013, total sales have been growing steadily: Between April 2013 and last month, total taxable sales grew 62%. With the April’s drop, however, the annual rate of growth dropped 40% in just one month.

Source: State of Wyoming

RETAIL SALES ARE THE BIGGEST CATEGORY of Teton County’s total taxable sales. Retail sales reported in April totaled $33.9 million, a relatively mild 7% decrease versus the amount reported in April 2019. For whatever reason, the March shutdown didn’t affect retail as much as it did some other sectors (although the caveat about any one month’s numbers being wildly variable likely is the underlying cause). Retail sales reported during the fiscal year ending in April totaled $611 million. That was a 7.8% increase over the previous 12 months, and only the third month ever that annual retail sales have broken the $600 million mark.

Source: State of Wyoming

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor and Business section coordinator. She worked in Washington, D.C., and Chicago before moving to the Tetons.

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