The host of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce's annual economic forecast could see good things in 2012.

The host of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce's annual economic forecast could see good things in 2012.

Dublin Methodist Hospital hosted the meeting that featured a 2012 forecast for central Ohio from Bill LaFayette, owner of Regionomics LLC, a local consulting firm.

According to LaFayette, economists expect that national economy to "muddle along" in 2012.

In the eight-county central Ohio metropolitan area, however, things could be a little better.

"The overall implications of my forecast are that 2012 will be a good year," he said.

Unemployment in central Ohio "hit bottom" in January 2010, LaFayette said, and the region has a way to go before gaining back the 53,000 jobs lost.

"We gained about 6,800 jobs last year," he said.

LaFayette said he anticipates 10,300 jobs to be added in 2012, amounting to an increase of 1.1 percent.

"There will be gains in every major sector except information and government," he said.

Job growth isn't expected to keep up with population growth, LaFayette said.

Good news came for Dublin in the economic forecast, though, as LaFayette predicted major growth in the business and professional-services sectors that include research and development, public relations and IT services.

"In 2012, I'm expecting this sector to do best of all," LaFayette said, adding that he expects the sector to grow by 2.9 percent.

LaFayette's forecast also focused on the health-care and private-education sector, which "stumbled badly last year."

"It simply got ahead of itself," LaFayette said.

He said he still expects a growth of 1.8 percent, or 2,200 jobs, in 2012.

Retail is another sector that's big in Dublin, LaFayette said, and could see growth in 2012.

"Retail employment did very well last year," he said, adding that his forecast expects 2,400 jobs to be added in retail this year.

Financial activities, which include real estate, banking and insurance, also could see growth this year. LaFayette said the sector is important to Dublin and should see an increase of 1,100 jobs (1.5 percent) this year compared to 2011.

The two sectors that are expected to experience problems in 2012 are information and government.

"Information is in the process of a decade-long decline," LaFayette said, adding that he is predicting a loss of 300 jobs, or 1.8 percent, in the small sector.

As for government, LaFayette is predicting a loss of 2,600 jobs as government funding continues to decline and school levies fail.

"All government will be affected," he said.

While government jobs have declined by 3.8 percent since the peak in 2003, LaFayette said, central Ohio has a much smaller percentage of government jobs than other big cities.

"Government is less dominant than people think," he said. "The government here in Columbus is just under 17 percent (of jobs)."