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Holiday shopping is boosting Central Florida’s economy, even as the threat of Omicron looms

Image: Pixabay

The holiday shopping season is underway, and people are apparently ready to spend again after the pandemic induced recession. 

People are spending more, and unemployment is down since the start of the pandemic. According to a report from the Orlando Economic Partnership, consumer spending in some Central Florida counties is up as much as 45% above what it was at the start of 2020. 

Orlando Economic Partnership senior vice president of research, Dr. Dale Brill, said it’s good news for this economy. 

“By anecdotal evidence, I was out in the various outlets and shopping centers throughout the Orange and Osceola and Seminole County areas just in the last two or three days to observe, and people seem to be again, very willing to be out in person, but I think that will be dwarfed by E commerce,” said Brill

He said supply chain issues and the threat of inflation might be artificially boosting retail sales early in the holiday shopping season. 

“I’m wondering to what degree though people have purchased early because they sense that it’s harder to get things than before. There’s also the threat of inflation, that if people are under the impression or convinced that something will be expensive or more expensive in two months, might as well buy it now.”

Brill said the wildcard looming over the economy remains the pandemic, with the Omicron variant now in the US. 

“We can of course project what we think is going to happen. But we’ve never been in this kind of environment before where not only it’s a global pandemic, but seems to be able to replicate a challenging variation about every three to six months.”

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About Matthew Peddie

Matt Peddie