The holiday shopping forecast for the state of Ohio is better than last year’s, according to a study by the University of Cincinnati Economics Center, but the Dayton-area forecast is the worst in the state.
This holiday season Ohio retailers are looking at a 3.5 percent increase in sales compared to 2012. That estimate, produced by the Economics Center for the Ohio retail group “Focus On Ohio’s Future,” lags behind the national forecast of 3.9 percent. And it lags behind the same estimate last year, when Ohio retailers predicted a 4.2 percent increase from 2011.
A predicted increase of just .1 percent makes the Dayton area’s forecast the cloudiest of the state’s metro areas, while the Columbus area has the distinction of the highest predicted increased at 4.4 percent.
“There’s been some slippage in consumer confidence,” said Michael Jones with the Economics Center. Uncertainty about the economy has dominated this fall, and Ohio’s unemployment rate has been on a slow uptick, as well. “Some of the recent employment numbers in Ohio aren’t as strong as we would like to see.”
Home sales, wages, taxes and gas prices also play a part in the forecast; the state income tax went up by .25 percent earlier this year.
There is one silver lining: shoppers and travelers can expect gas prices to stay low this week, and they are down 9 percent from last year.