CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada's taxable sales in February jumped 10.2 percent from the same month last year as residents reached into their wallets to buy big-ticket items like vehicles and home furnishings, the Department of Taxation reported Thursday.
Many sectors reported double-digit increases, and the report marked the 20th straight month of sales gains that began in July 2010 when the Great Recession started to ease its chokehold on Nevada's economy.
Merchants in February sold $3.2 billion in taxable goods, meaning the state collected $259 million in gross revenue. Revenue collections were 11.5 percent higher than in February 2011 and 7 percent higher for the first eight months of the fiscal year.
Sales increased in 14 of Nevada's 17 counties, with only Elko, Humboldt and White Pine reporting declines, the report said.
In Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, sales rose 11.1 percent to $2.4 billion, up from $2.2 billion. Washoe County, which includes Reno, reported sales totaling $397 million, an increase of 10.7 percent.
The breadth of gains across various sectors suggests Nevada consumers are feeling more confident about the overall economy and employment outlook.
Sales of vehicles and parts jumped nearly 23 percent compared with February 2011, and durable goods were up 18 percent.
General merchandise stores saw a 17 percent increase in sales, while clothing and accessories rose 11.3 percent. Home furnishings climbed 15.4 percent.
Sales at bars and restaurants jumped 11.9 percent, and accommodations rose 25.7 percent. Both are key indicators on the health of Nevada's tourism-dependent economy.
In Clark County, where the Las Vegas Strip accounts for the lion's share of the state's tourist dollars, bars and restaurants had taxable sales of $666.5 million, nearly $76 million more than in February last year.
A big drag on Nevada's economy continues to be the construction industry, and sales in that sector fell 25.5 percent in February.
The portion of sales and use taxes that goes into the state general fund totaled $65.5 million, an increase of 11 percent compared with February 2011. For the fiscal year that began July 1, general fund collections are 4 percent or $21.2 million above projections the Economic Forum made last May.
The forum is an independent panel of fiscal and business experts who project state revenues. The governor and state lawmakers use the panel's figures to build a two-year budget.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.