A study released Monday predicts that holiday spending in Ohio this year will be modest compared to the rest of the nation.
National forecasters are predicting holiday spending to increase between 3.1 and 4.5 percent this season.
But the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati said it expects holiday spending in the Buckeye state to rise to $24.1 billion, just a 2.04 percent increase over 2016. Last year spending reached $23.6 billion.The center conceded that its estimate is conservative and does not include spending related to travel and entertainment.
For the Toledo area, the report predicts holiday spending will reach $1.28 billion this season, up 2.1 percent from a year ago when local shoppers spent $1.26 billion. Toledo spending is about 5.3 percent of the overall Ohio economic pie.
The Economics Center categorized the statewide holiday retail sales for 2017 as “continued steady growth” but said that holiday sales will vary considerably across Ohio’s metro regions.
The three largest areas — Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati — will account for 53.7 percent of sales in Ohio. However, sales will be flat in Columbus, rise 3.1 percent in Cleveland, and increase just 1.6 percent in Cincinnati.
The report said the economic indicators used to compile data suggest stability across Ohio’s consumer base with employment and wage growth, consumer confidence, household wealth, and slowly rising inflation all contributing to the forecast of modest growth.
Total Ohio wages and salaries have exhibited positive overall growth since 2013, peaking at 2.5 percent growth at the end of 2015 and most recently 1 percent growth in the first quarter of 2017.
Consumer confidence, as measured by the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, has rebounded from low recessionary levels and surged upward before leveling off this year, while the house price index has increased steadily since 2013, surging upward in the first quarter this year before leveling off.
Inflation, as measured by the Midwest Consumer Price Index, has been positive overall since 2010, growing at less than 1.5 percent annually.
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