Construction and auto sales indicate booming south sound economy

OLYMPIA -  Construction projects and auto sales in the state sent taxable retail sales climbing once again to a record $170.2 billion in 2018, a 9.6 percent gain over 2017.

Retail trade increased by 7.2 percent in 2018 over 2017 to a total of $71.5 billion, according to an annual report released Thursday by the State Department of Revenue.

Construction rose 14 percent to $35.2 billion. Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 2.3 percent to $13.9 billion. Sales of building materials, garden equipment and supplies rose 8 percent to $7.5 billion. Electronic and appliance stores increased by 12.6 percent to $4.3 billion.

In 2018 retail sales increased in Thurston County by 8.1 percent to $5.7 billion. Kitsap County reported a 13.8 percent growth to $5.1 billion. Mason County recorded $761 million in retail sales last year, a nearly 15 percent increase over 2017.

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