By Tammy Gray –
The total number of businesses in Navajo County steadily rose between 2005 and 2007, then through 2010, according to data recently provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Records show that in 2010 there were 1,763 business establishments in the county. In 2005, there were 1,882 establishments, and that number rose in 2006 to 1,980 and again in 2007 to 2,107. It began dropping in 2008, when there were 2,007, and the decline continued in 2009 when there were 1,844. Data for 2011 is not yet available from the Census Bureau.
The trend of an increase in the number of business establishments between 2005 and 2007, and the subsequent through 2010, is mirrored almost exactly in the number of employees at those businesses, as well as state sales tax and county sales tax revenues.
In 2010, the 1,763 businesses in Navajo County reported a total of 17,248 employees with a total payroll of $556.9 million. In 2005, the county’s 1,882 business establishments reported 18,345 employees, and a total payroll of $527.9 million. The difference in those five years is 119 fewer business establishments and 1,097 fewer employees, but $29 million more in payroll expenses.
During a peak in the five-year period, in 2007, the county’s 2,107 businesses employed 20,328 people, with a total payroll of $616.7 million. According to the data, between 2007 and 2010, Navajo County lost 344 business establishments and 3,080 employees in those businesses. Payroll also declined by $59.8 million.
Sales tax collections within the county followed the trend set by the number of businesses and employees. Over the five-year period, sales tax steadily rose between fiscal years 2005 and 2007, and then began declining in 2008. In 2005, total county sales tax collections were $5.76 million. In 2007, they peaked at $7.28 million. They then dropped to $5.57 million in 2010, for a difference of $190,000 between 2005 and 2010, and a decrease of $1.71 million between the peak of 2007 and the end of fiscal year 2010.
Revenues from state sales tax collected within Navajo County also reflected the business trend, hitting a peak in fiscal year 2007 and dropping below 2005 levels by the end of the decade in 2010. In 2005, Navajo County’s portion of state sales tax was $9.36 million. In 2007, it was $10.96 million, and in fiscal year 2010, it was $8.9 million.
Tax collections for the last two fiscal years, which run from July 1 to June 30, for Navajo County have shown an increase over 2010 levels. In fiscal year 2011, $5.84 million was collected in county sales tax. In fiscal year 2012, which just ended, a total of $6.2 million was collected, for a $700,000 increase over fiscal year 2010. State sales tax revenues for Navajo County were $9.28 million in fiscal year 2011, and $9.56 million in fiscal year 2012, for a total increase of $660,000 since 2010.
Data is not yet available on the number of businesses and their employees in the county for 2011 or 2012, but trends over the last five years indicate that the total may finally be increasing instead of decreasing.