13.11.25 gongwer news service november hiring announcement
Gongwer News Service, Ohio Report
Volume #82, Report #228, Article #7--Monday, November 25, 2013
Ohio Business: Holiday Spending Expected to Increase; AT&T Announces New
Hires; Home Sales Keep Steady
Ohio could see a 3.5% increase in spending this holiday season, according to the University of
Cincinnati's fourth annual Holiday Retail Sales Forecast.
Estimates show the total retail spending for November and December will be nearly $15 billion-an
increase of more than $503 million from 2012.
"Sales should increase this year as they have every year since the end of the recession," said Jeff
Rexhausen, Senior Research Associate for the University of Cincinnati Economics Center.
The Center prepares the report for Focus On Ohio's Future, the public research arm of the Ohio Council
of Retail Merchants.
"Positive economic trends continue to outweigh negative ones, and Ohio retailers seek to attract
shoppers with a value proposition that is a combination of quality, price, and service," Mr. Rexhausen
The report said the majority of retail spending in the state will be done in the greater Columbus area,
which is expected to experience a 4.36% increase in holiday retail sales over 2012.
But, despite the upward trending retail number for the state as a whole, it's lower than the expected
national average increase of 3.9%.
The report cited recent declines in consumer confidence as a cause for the conservative estimate.
Researches also took into consideration a National Retail Federation report from October that predicted
consumers are planning to spend less on gift giving this year.
According to the Economics Center report, the outlook doesn't just reflect how the state's retail climate will
fare in the next two months, it also paves the way for predictions on the year ahead.
"Not only can a healthy holiday season create a boost in short-term seasonal employment, but it also
serves as a strong indicator of the health of the economy going forward, the report's authors wrote.
"Among other things, strong spending during the holiday season will lead to higher earnings. When
earnings are strong, optimism regarding future investment generally rises. With additional investments in
the economy, higher employment levels and higher wages are likely to soon follow and further strengthen
AT&T: The wireless provider announced Monday that it will hire an additional 230 employees across
More than 125 of those positions will be new as the company works to expand wireless, Wi-Fi, high
speed Internet and voice and cloud-based services in the state.
The company has had a focus on Ohio this year, having invested more than $225 million in state
networks. In 2013, AT&T has also employed 840 new workers, according to a company news release.
"The transformation of the communications industry is powering more choices for consumers, jobs for
workers and needed investments for communities," AT&T Ohio president Adam Grzybicki said in a
"AT&T continues to add jobs and invest in our 21st century networks to ensure we are providing the
highest level of service consumers demand in today's competitive marketplace."
Of the new positions, 93 will be based in Ohio while the others will be spread out throughout the state.
In a separate release, AT&T named Brian Ducharme the new Vice President and General Manager for
Ohio. He will oversee the company's growing market, which includes 770 Ohio employees, 86 AT&Towned retail locations and more than 85 national retail partners and authorized resellers across the state.
Based in Indianapolis, Mr. Ducharme is heading the new Great Lakes market within the company, which
expands its focus from just Michigan and Indiana to Ohio as well.
"I'm excited to get to know our customers in Ohio," he said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing
our efforts to deliver a premier customer experience, strengthen our relationships in the community and
expand our advanced mobile broadband network."
Home Sales: The number of single-family homes and condominiums put under agreement in October
was on par with the data for the same month last year presented by the Ohio Association of REALTORS.
"The number of home purchase contracts entered into in October nearly mirrored our results from a year
ago, an indication that the Ohio marketplace has begun to stabilize following a stretch of 29 consecutive
months of year-over-year gains," OAR President Thomas J. Williams said in a statement. "Activity levels
remain solid, despite the fact that the shutdown of the federal government and ongoing debate about the
country's debt ceiling dominated headlines for much of October."
The October Pending Home Sales Index of 139.7 fell three-tenths of a percent from the October 2012
index score of 140.0, but the OAR is still well above the benchmark index of 100, which is equal to the
average level of contract activity during 2008-just before the recession hit.