State And Regional

How much Ohioans are expected to spend this holiday season

OHIO — Two economic-based groups have forecasted the amount of money Ohioans will spend this holiday season.

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The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the University of Cincinnati Economics Center expect the total holiday sales to be $32.2 billion, which is a 0.7% increase from last year’s sales.

This will be the 11th consecutive year of growth forecasted in Ohio holiday sales, a spokesperson from the council said.

“This year’s forecast of a 0.7% increase to $32.2 billion shows the continued vitality of Ohio’s overall economy as we move farther away from COVID’s impact and experience continued growth in key segments of our overall economy,” President and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants Gordon Gough said.

The study evaluated nine metro regions to determine whether or not they would see sales growth this holiday season.

Seven of the nine regions expect sales growth. Those include Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, Lima, Mansfield, Toledo, and Youngstown.

Two of the nine regions studied are not forecasted to show growth. Those metro regions are Cleveland and Dayton.

“In terms of general economic indicators, Ohio employment numbers have now exceeded pre-pandemic levels, increasing 2.6% during Q3 2023 over pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2020, while wages have increased nearly 19% since COVID first hit in early 2020,” University of Cincinnati Economics Center Director of Research Brad Evans said.

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Inflation is another contributing factor to the potential sales growth. Midwest inflation has increased by 5.7% between Sept. 2020 to Sept. 2021.

These rates increased 8.1% between Sept. 2021 to Sept. 2022.

Inflation in the Midwest has slowed down as the study found it only increase 3.2% from Sept. 2022 to Sept. 2023.