Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retail Trade Strength Lifts Metro Economy

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retail Trade Strength Lifts Metro Economy

Article excerpt

Strong retail trade results underscore "real economic growth" that should carry a healthy metro Oklahoma City into the coming year, according to a report by the University of Oklahoma Center for Economic and Management Research.

"The broad gains in taxable sales in the Oklahoma City region in September and in the first nine months of 1998 demonstrate that real economic growth is continuing in the region at a rate far in excess on the national rate of inflation," said Robert C. Dauffenbach, director of the OU center and author of the report.

"With inflation falling at the national level, the continuing patterns of sales growth in Oklahoma suggests that real economic activity in Oklahoma is faring well. That is, a constant rate of sales growth and falling national inflation means higher real economic growth. These trends bode well for the future and the Christmas sales season should be comparatively strong." Dauffenbach projects metro Christmas sales growth "in the 5.0 percent range." The September taxable sales report revealed several ironies. Sales for the City of Oklahoma City -- which during the Metropolitan Area Projects sales tax hike had endured a long period of decline, to the concern of city leaders seeking the MAPS tax extension -- turned the tables on those of its suburbs, rising 4.4 percent over the prior year. Total metro results rose only 3.3 percent, according to the OU report. The capital city still trails its metro area in year-to-date tallies. For the first nine months of 1998, City of Oklahoma City taxable sales jumped 5.6 percent. Over the same period, the six- county metro's taxable sales rose 5.9 percent. Both leapfrogged the City of Tulsa's September results, where taxable sales fell 2.3 percent. Metro Tulsa did a little better, with sales inching 0.4 percent higher. But for the first nine months, both Tulsa and its suburbs remain on top. Taxable sales for Oklahoma City's Interstate 44 cousin have risen 7.7 percent for the first three quarters; greater Tulsa sales leapt an even more impressive 8. …

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