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As described in an earlier post, we are using credit and debit card spending data provided by Opportunity Insights to track sales tax trends in California. To do this, we use an index—a weighted average of different spending categories—designed to track movements in California’s sales tax base. In this post, we update the index to include December data and to incorporate data revisions for earlier months.

Card Data: Spending Dropped in December. The spending index dropped by 2.2 percent from November to December (seasonally adjusted). This decline followed seven straight months of growth.

Spending Still Higher Than January 2020. Although December spending was lower than November spending, it exceeded January 2020 spending by 1.2 percent. As shown in the figure, the December decline in spending was much smaller than the steep drops observed in March and April.


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