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Alabama’s hot economy: Taxed sales up almost 41 percent over last year

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Alabama’s economy is at a red hot pace, a year after the worst of the pandemic lockdown.

Taxed sales surged almost 41 percent in March and April over their pace a year ago, according to the Alabama Department of Revenue. And nine of the previous 12 months have seen double-digit year-over-year growth, according to the Alabama Retail Association.

The numbers grow when you add online sales as well. Collections on in-person sales added to those for online sales at outlets without a presence in Alabama were up 42.3 percent in March 2021, when compared with March 2020. Regular collections grew 38.16 percent, and Alabama’s simplified sellers use tax, which tracks online sales, was up almost 72 percent.

Total taxed sales in April 2021 grew almost 39 percent over April 2020, the month when many businesses in Alabama had no in-store sales. Regular sales tax collections in April increased almost 41 percent and the simplified sellers use tax saw a jump of almost 29 percent.

Alabama also saw record total tax collections in each month – $334 million in March, and $308 million in April.

But Alabama’s economy fared better during the pandemic than many other states. Despite the shutdown, the state finished 2020 with a taxed sales growth rate of 7.13 percent for the year. In November and December 2020 alone, Alabamians spent 11.6 percent more than they did during the same period in 2019. It was the highest holiday growth rate on record.

The National Retail Federation expects retail sales to grow between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent, to more than $4.44 trillion nationally this year, according to the group’s revised annual forecast. That would make it the fastest growth the U.S. has experienced since 1984.