State Economy Continued Rapid Growth in Third Quarter 1999 – Retail Sales Up 7.2 %

“Washington’s economy continued to grow at a brisk rate during the third quarter of 1999, according to state figures.Gross income increased 8.5 percent over the third quarter of 1998, while taxable retail sales statewide climbed 7.2 percent. The quarterly increase in gross business income was the strongest for the year. Gross business income reached $97.8 billion, up from $90.1 billion reported during the third quarter of 1998. Taxable retail sales statewide rose to $21 billion, compared to $19.6 billion in the prior period, according to the Quarterly Business Review – Third Quarter 1999 report, issued by the Research Division of the Washington State Department of Revenue. Gains were reported in nine of 10 industry sectors, led by finance, insurance and real estate with a 19.9 percent increase; retail trade with an 11.1 percent gain; and communication and utilities with a 10.9 percent rise. Among counties, Columbia and Grays Harbor led with 17.3 percent and 17.2 percent gains respectively, in taxable retail sales, followed by Benton with a 13.8 percent increase and Pend Oreille with a rise of 13.4 percent.Pierce County posted a gain of 8.5 percent, with Thurston County at an even 8 percent rise in taxable retail sales over the same period in 1998.Counties posting losses included Pacific County, down 21.9 percent; Wahkiakum, off 18.1 percent; and Garfield with a 9.5 percent loss. The rankings change if only retail trade only is compared.Among cities, Richland turned in a whopping 35.9 percent gain in overall retail sales, followed by Mercer Island with a 32.1 percent increase and Issaquah with a 17.4 percent rise. Gains decrease substantially when non-retail trade such as construction is excluded.Cities in Pierce County all posted gains over the previous year. Fife posted an increase in retail sales of 9.9 percent, with Puyallup following with an 8.8 percent rise. Tacoma posted a gain of 4.9 percent.In Thurston County, Lacey posted a gain of 3.9 percent while Olympia reported an impressive increase of 11.6 percent over 1998 figures.In Mason County, Shelton turned in an increase of 5.4 percent, and Bremerton, in Kitsap County, reported an 11.2 percent leap over the same time last year.Cities experiencing losses included Kent, off 5.4 percent; and Omak and Chehalis, both down 3.9 percent.”