VAN WERT - For the third month in a row, Retail sales in Van Wert County fell from one year prior, according to report released by Van Wert County Treasurer Bev Fuerst. This report shows a bad December for county retail merchants in 2013, bust still better than 2011 and 2012.

Perhaps most alarming about the report is that this makes the third straight month showing a decrease after a period of growth 35 months with only seven decreases reported.

The report shows a slightly slower Christmas shopping season in 2013 with a loss of just over five percent for November and just shy of 11 percent for December. October 2013 tax revenue in the county was off more than four percent.

A breakdown of sales categories in the February report of December sales showed nothing revealing about the report, aside from lower sales across the board. Fuerst admitted that it just appeared to be a slower month for sales.

The good news in the report shows that sales for the month are still up over 2012. The total collection in February 2014 was over $337,700. One year earlier, the total was nearly $379,000, but two years ago the figure was only $313,000. The February 2011 total was over $322,700. So, the tax collections are coming in between the figures from 2012 and 2013.

At this rate the total collections should exceed the budgeted figure of $4,020,000. In 2012, just under $4.0 million was collected in Van Wert County in retail transactions. In 2013 that number jumped to more than $4.13 million.

While there is no cause for alarm, the report showed a little disappointment in the Christmas retail season in the county.

The next bit of economic news expected will be the January unemployment figures for the state which will be released on March 7, and the county rates which will be revealed March 11. In December 2013’s report the jobless figure took a large drop to just 6.1 percent in Van Wert County which was down from November’s 6.8 percent. The Ohio state unemployment rate dropped from 7.4 percent in November to 7.2 percent in December.