Oklahoma had a happy holiday season, with sales between mid-November and mid-December about 6.3 percent higher than a year ago, state Treasurer Ken Miller said Wednesday.
Gross sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, were $344.5 million during that period.
Sales after mid-December will show up next month when collections for that period are reported, he said.
“We should see some more of the Christmas sales coming in next month,” Miller said.
Gross tax receipts for the state in December were 11.1 percent better compared with the same month a year ago, he said.
“We saw a quickened pace of the recovery for 2011,” he said. “Throughout 2011, we've seen a pretty healthy growth, in the range of 4 percent all the way up to 15.5 percent.”
Gross collections for the fourth quarter of 2011 were 10.5 percent ahead of the final three months of 2010, and total year collections surpassed the previous year by 9.6 percent.
December was the fifth time in the past eight months that gross collections rose by more than 10 percent over the previous year, he said. Gross revenue, a reflection of the state's economic performance, has grown for 22 consecutive months.
Gross collections include all revenue collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Money to fund state government goes into the state's general revenue fund after transfers are made to earmarked funds; cities and counties get their share.
The revenue report for December shows gross collections at $960.8 million, up $95.9 million, or 11.1 percent, compared with a year ago.
During 2011, gross revenue totaled $10.7 billion, which was $938.6 million, or 9.6 percent, higher than collections in 2010, he said.
National and state-specific forecasts point toward continued economic improvement, he said.
Recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data list Oklahoma with year-over-year employment growth of 3 percent, surpassing all surrounding states. The closest competitor was Texas with a growth of 2.2 percent.
A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report shows Oklahoma with the nation's fourth lowest unemployment rate, adding jobs 3.5 times faster than the national rate in 2011.
Figures from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and Bureau of Labor Statistics show the number of jobs grew by almost 16,500 in the past 12 months, while the labor force grew by just more than 3,000. During that time, the unemployment rate dropped from 6.9 percent to 6.1 percent.
The Creighton University Economic Forecasting Group anticipates Oklahoma this year will have the second-highest growth in gross state product in the nine-state Mid-America region at 4.6 percent, Miller said. North Dakota is forecast to grow at 6.8 percent.