Regional Economic Forecast Bright, Expert Says - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Regional Economic Forecast Bright, Expert Says

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Columbus and Central Ohio continue to be the star of thestate when it comes to the economy.

Economist and founder of the firm Regionomics Bill Lafayettereleased his yearly Central Ohio forecast today and while Central Ohio's growthis slowing down slightly after the rebound from the recession it is still onthe upswing.

"Way better than the national average and in 2014 I'mexpecting about 18,000 net new jobs, growth better than the national averageyet again," Lafayette.  

He says we should expect to see more jobs become availablein the healthcare, construction and transportation industries.

Even with what appears to be a stable economy in CentralOhio, Lafayette says there is one area that is lagging.

"The strength of our retail community is one of theworst in the country," he said. He says the small mom and pop-typebusinesses are struggling the most.

Jason Williams opened Big Fun Columbus about seven monthsago in the Short North.

He has high hopes, but knows it will be tough to make aShort North vintage toy store succeed.

"We learned about short north, gallery hops and westarted focusing on this area and it's the only place in the state that I knowof that does art festivals the first Saturday of every month continuous so thatwas the sales pitch for us," says Williams.

"People when they go shopping tend to shop at chainsmuch more than they do at other places, they'd rather shop at Wal-Mart, and theproblem with that is that the money they spend leaves the community and itdoesn't have the opportunity to circulate" said Lafayette.

Late last month, Columbus City Council gave $2 million tohelp small businesses in Columbus succeed, with an emphasis on areas likeFranklinton.

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