The City of Turlock received a double dose of positive economic news this week.
Citywide sales-tax revenue is up 13.8 percent when comparing the first quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2022, according to figures presented by the city during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Not only that, but Monte Vista Crossings — located at the intersection of Monte Vista Avenue and Countryside Drive — has been ranked as one of the top retail power centers in the nation.
According to Placer.ai, Monte Vista Crossings is the fifth-ranked retail power center in California and No. 9 in the nation, when examining factors such as sales and foot traffic.
“We continue to draw people to our city,” said Anthony Sims, economic development director for the city. “We’re dialed in trying to do the best we can for Turlock.”
The overall success of MVC is a large part of the city’s increase in sales-tax revenue.
Turlock generated $4,317,846 in sales-tax revenue during the opening quarter of 2022. One year later the city raked in $4,913,016. That’s down from the final quarter of 2022, but that doesn’t provide an apples-to-apples comparison.
“Comparing one quarter to the same quarter from the previous year gives you a true analysis of what’s occurring,” said city of Turlock financial director Isaac Moreno, who pointed out that the final quarter of any year is always boosted by holiday sales. “It provides the best overall snapshot.”
That 13.8 percent increase is tops in all of Stanislaus County, with Patterson being the only other city to show a positive increase (5.2 percent) from the year prior. Waterford was down 33.7 percent, while Hughson was off 28.9 percent.
Both Turlock and Patterson are home to Amazon distribution centers. Amazon’s Turlock facility opened in the fall of 2022, and almost certainly added to the city’s robust growth.
“Sales-tax revenue goes into the general fund, and goes toward taking care of roads, parks, and public safety, among other things,” said Mayor Amy Bublak. “Economic development is my passion and I’m always talking to Anthony (Sims) about whether we can do this or whether we can do that. We’re always bouncing ideas off each other trying to make things better, because we want all businesses to do well.”
Drilling deeper into the figures, general retail sales saw the most growth, up 61.1 percent from the same time the previous year. Meanwhile, construction was the biggest drag, down 40.8 percent.
“That’s something we’re seeing statewide,” Moreno said of the construction numbers. “Interest rates, supply issues … a lot of economic factors are contributing to that.”
While the city showed a nearly 14 percent increase, statewide sales-tax receipts decreased by 0.2 percent from the first quarter in 2022 to the first quarter in 2023. That further breaks down to a decrease of 0.9 percent in Northern California and 0.3 percent in Southern California.
The U.S. unemployment rate decreased slightly to 3.5 percent in March of 2023. California's unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.4 percent in March of 2023 — a bit higher than November 2022 rate of 4.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Personal income increased nationally by 6.2 percent for the first quarter of 2023, compared to same quarter previous year. Compensation of employees increased by 6.9 percent, while personal current taxes decreased by 6.5 percent from the previous period, resulting in a net gain of 8.4 percent in disposable income.
The increase of disposable income generated a 20.6 percent increase in U.S. personal savings for the first quarter of 2023, compared to same quarter the previous year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.