BY ED GEBERT

Times Bulletin Editor

egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - Retail sales in Van Wert County bounced back in April with an increse of nearly six percent over 2012. The jump in sales was seen through the collections of the county's 1.5 percent sales tax on retail sales through the office of County Treasurer Bev Fuerst.

The March report was the first in six month to show a dip in collections compared to the same month of the previous year. With the April report, the upward economic trend continues in Van Wert County. Over the last 39 months, the collection figures have increased 33 times.

The 5.85 percent upward move is actually the second highest of the year, second only to the nearly 21 percent jump in February collections, which reflect sales during December 2012. The current report reflects sales made in the county during April.

The overall increase in 2013 collections is more than $107,000 with nearly $20,000 of that amount coming from April sales tax collections. With the increase, the county is on pace to collect more than $4.2 million in 2013. That represents a significant increase in sales for county retailers. In 2012, the amount of sales tax collected was $3,994,540. That figure has risen steadily since coming in a $3.28 million in 2009.

The report suggests a healthier economy in Van Wert County since unemployment topped out a few years ago. The most recent unemployment report for the county shows a five-year low rate of 6.6 percent in April. The jobless figures for May are due to be released on June 25, with the state unemployment report due out today from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.