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WV's optimism mixed on economy, survey says

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West Virginians are a bit more optimistic about the economy than they were a year ago but not as optimistic as their neighbors in the Midwest, according to a survey by Huntington Bank.

The survey was conducted in mid-November in West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and western Pennsylvania, where Huntington Bank operates.

Among the findings of the survey:

  • About 55 percent of respondents in West Virginia plan to make home improvements in 2013. Most plan to rely on savings rather than credit to finance the improvements.
  • About 72 percent of West Virginia respondents plan to take a vacation away from home next year, and they expect to spend about $3,400.
  • About 11 percent of West Virginia respondents plan to spend more on holiday purchases this year, 33 percent plan to spend less and 53 percent the same. Holiday purchases will average about $987.
  • Meanwhile, only 34 percent of West Virginians expect the economy in their region to be better in 2013 compared to 2012. About 45 percent of people in Ohio were optimistic, 47 percent in western Pennsylvania and 48 percent in Michigan and Indiana.

Chad Prather, senior vice president and commercial regional manager for West Virginia, said conversations with the bank's clients are expecting to invest and to grow and to hire more people next year.

He attributed the state's low optimism on the overall economy to troubles in one of its major energy industries. But conversations with people in those industries has shown optimism, he said.