The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s latest monthly update contains some positive news for state budget watchers. Collections continue to roll in above forecast.
Major General Fund-State revenue collections for the April 11 – May 10, 2016 collection period came in $66.5 million (4.7%) above the February forecast. Cumulatively, collections are now $140.1 million (3.8%) higher than forecasted.
The economic report for the state contained a few cautionary signals.
First quarter 2016 exports were down 15.6% from the first quarter of 2015. Transportation equipment exports (mostly Boeing planes) declined 17.4% over the year. Exports other than transportation equipment were 12.8% lower than a year ago. As of the first quarter of 2016, seasonally adjusted Washington exports were down 17.9% from the 2014Q4 peak (see figure). The drop likely reflects the negative influence of a stronger dollar and weak economic growth abroad.
The Institute of Supply Management – Western Washington Index (ISM-WW) fell sharply in April but remained slightly in positive territory. The index, which measures conditions in the manufacturing sector, declined to 50.8 in April from 55.7 in March (index values above 50 indicate positive growth while values below 50 indicate contraction). The production, orders, and inventory components all declined in April while the employment and deliveries components were unchanged.
Washington car and truck sales declined for a third consecutive month in April from January’s post-recession high. Seasonally adjusted new vehicle registrations declined 4.6% in February to 294,700 and are now 13.4% below the January peak. April 2016 registrations 0.5% lower than in April 2015. This was the first year-over-year decline in vehicle sales since September 2010.
The reports continue to provide a wealth of good information, concise and easy to read. Well worth your time.