Steady growth in construction and strong early 2017 auto sales helped to boost taxable retail sales by 5.3 percent over the first quarter 2016 comparisons.

Pierce County (+7.6%) and Tacoma (+8.7%) enjoyed the largest percentage increases in retail sales year-over-year.

There was a recorded $34.1 billion statewide in this broad category of all transactions subject to collection of the retail sales tax, including manufacturing, construction, sales by retailers and other sectors.

The smaller subset of Retail trade sales also saw an increase from January through March 2017 of 4.1 percent gain, compared to the same period last year. This total was $14.5 billion in 2017.

According to a quarterly report released today by state Department of Revenue, Construction sales rose 12.6 percent to $6.6 billion; new and used auto dealers reported $3.2 billion in Q1, up 6.6 percent above last year; taxable retail sales reported by drug and health stores grew 14.5 percent, while e-commerce and mail order sales gaind 13.9 percent and it was a 13.7 percent jump for lawn and garden supplies and equipment.

Overall department stores, plus grocery and convenience stores each saw their sales drop slightly to start this new year.

See the full first-quarter 2017 report at this link. And to check out details of the 7.6 percent jump for Pierce County, click here. The full break-out by cities is here.