COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) --Franklin County's economy continues to bounce back from the ground it lost during the 2008-2009 recession, judging from numbers presented to central Ohio business leaders Wednesday morning.

The 2013 Franklin County Retail Report shows sales tax revenues rebounding and retail vacancy rates continuing to decrease.

Columbus Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Michael Dalby tells Joel Riley sales tax revenues in 2012 were 8.6 percent higher than 2011, while the retail real estate vacancy rate was 10.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to a peak of 13.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

Dalby says the numbers are a reflection of a diversity of businesses in the region and the fact that central Ohio as a whole weathered the recession better than other parts of Ohio, the Midwest and other parts of the country.

Franklin County Board of Commissioners president John O'Grady, at Wednesday's Franklin County Retail Summit, called retail "the engine of our economy" and noted that Franklin County is the fastest-growing in the state. O'Grady says while the county has regained the jobs it lost during the recession, the board is focusing on ways to help businesses that continue to struggle.

Other findings in the Retail Report:

· Showing growth from 2006 to 2012, top-performing retail categories include: clothing and accessories (23.5 percent); food and beverage (32.6 percent); gas stations (18.0 percent); and accommodation and food services (19.8 percent).

· With the growth of e-commerce, “retail” employment is shifting to the transportation/warehousing industry. Compared to the early 2000s, seasonal employment in retail is now half, while seasonal employment in transportation housing is now double.

· Franklin County boasts favorable demographics for retail, with proportionately higher shares of young families, couples and professionals compared to U.S. levels.

A full version of the 2013 Franklin County Retail Report is available here.