BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - Good local economic news continued in July as retail sales in Van Wert County were up again, by 7.67 opercent over the same month last year.

The totals are for taxes collected in September based on sales made in July 2013.

A rise in sales tax collected means that retail sales in the county are increasing - a healthy sign for the Van Wert economy. The increase in the 27th in the past 33 months.

The September report shows increases in both sales at big box retail establishments in the county and in motor vehicle sales.

The news is good for the county government, who budgeted revenue of $3.9 million but instead is on track to take in around $4.2 million.

Sagging local sales just a couple of years ago forced county employees to accept a furlough program, effectively cutting ten percent from their salary as a temporary stop-gap measure.

Collections have increased every month but one thus far in 2013. At this point, sales tax collections are running nearly $153,500 ahead of the same time last year.

The news contrasts with the latest unemployment news in Ohio. The jobless rate in August increased to 7.3 percent, higher than the August 2012 state rate of 7.2 percent. The Van Wert County Rate had been dropping, but once it hit 6.6 percent in April, the number has grown steadily to 7.1 percent in July. The unemployment rate for August in Van Wert County will be released on Tuesday.