The Christmas Tree Indicator: Economy's Improving
Precise numbers won't be available until late winter, when the National Christmas Tree Association completes its annual survey. But after two flat seasons, tree-farm associations in the biggest-producing states say members are estimating an industry-wide sales jump in the mid- to high single digits over a year ago, with some growers reporting larger gains.
"At times during the season, we had growers reporting increases of 20% to 40%," said Brian Ostlund, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, whose territory includes Oregon, the nation's largest producer of Christmas trees.
With annual sales under $2 billion, the Christmas tree is a small but nevertheless telling economic indicator because when incomes fall, people tend to forgo buying trees, economists say. "Better sales would be a good supporting indicator for better consumer sentiment," said Michael Swanson, agricultural economist for Wells Fargo."