Better Ohio holiday retail sales expected

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Economic forecasters say Ohio's rebounding economy and jobs picture mean a brighter holiday sales outlook for the state's retailers.

A University of Cincinnati Economics Center forecast projects a 4.2 percent increase in sales for November and December this year, over last year.

Forecasters say consumer confidence is up while consumer debt is down, and note that Ohio's unemployment rate has also fallen from double digits during the Great Recession to below 7 percent.

The researchers say the biggest uptick will be in the important Columbus metro market, with sales expected to rise 7.5 percent for the holiday period.

They say possible drags on holiday spending could come from concerns about gas prices and the federal "fiscal cliff" looming without a deal on expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts.

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