It isn’t even October yet and economists are already zeroing in on the Christmas shopping season. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says some Iowa retailers might expect to see a little less green this year, but he predicts our region will fare better than much of the rest of the country.
"The discount sellers are going to see slower growth this year and what we are seeing there is higher gasoline prices, we’ve got food prices up dramatically from last year, and finally, there is some fallout from the housing sector," Goss says, "what I am expecting for this part of the country is 5-to-6-percent growth over last year. The national numbers will probably come in at 4-percent growth."
Goss says there are a couple of reasons the Midwest won’t see as bad a Christmas crunch as other parts of the country. Goss says: "Farm income is very good for 2007. That’s going to spill over to the rest of the regional and state economies. We’re also seeing less fallout from the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, or fallout from that."
On the national scale, he says consumer confidence is crumbling due to a combination of several elements, including falling home prices, higher gasoline and food bills and generally slow spending much of the year.