Local economy takes hard hit with harsh winter months

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by KMOV.com Staff | @KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on March 5, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 5 at 7:00 PM

 (KMOV) – There is yet another deep freeze over the northern states. Long after the mercury rises, the economy will still be feeling the chill.

The harsh winter has kept shoppers at home. Auto dealers say business is down as much as 50-percent.

Home sales plunged in January to the lowest level in more than a year.

Business dipped about one-percent at restaurants and other that winter supplies, retailers saw the biggest sales drop in nearly two years.

By at least one estimate, it has cost the economy $50 billion.

Analysts worry consumers will cut back even more when they get a look at their next heating bill.

"Those heating bills are going to be some of the highest bills they've seen in years, maybe ever. As a result it's going to take money out of their pocket from spending,” said Fred Fox, CEO of Planalytics.

Car shoppers may be able to find steep discounts this spring. Dealers stuck with extra inventory are considering incentives to clear out stock.

 

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