UCF: Fla. slow to join recovery but now leads nation

03/26/2014

UCF: Fla. slow to join recovery but now leads nation

UCF: Fla. slow to join recovery but now leads nation

Fla. jobs bounce back

According to employment data released by Gov. Rick Scott’s office:
• The state unemployment rate has declined for the past 20 months
• Private sector job growth has been positive for 31 months
• 503,500 new private sector jobs have been created since Dec. 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. – March 26, 2014 – Florida was one of the first states to feel the effect of a national recession with job losses starting in April 2007, several months before other states, says UCF economist Sean Snaith in his First Quarter Florida Economic Forecast.

The national recovery began in June 2009, but Florida was slow to join in, Snaith says. For several years, it lagged behind the pace of the U.S. economic recovery.

However, Snaith says Florida no longer straggles. It’s now a front-runner.

“This has been no small accomplishment,” says Snaith. “Looking forward, Florida will extend its lead over the national economy the next several years as we expect the Florida economy to continue to outpace the nation as a whole.”

Snaith puts Florida’s unemployment rate “among the good news.”

Unemployment rates have fallen from their peaks, in part due to a low labor-force participation rate (59.6 percent in December 2013), and they will continue to decline through 2017, Snaith projects. The pace of decline will slow dramatically as labor-force growth picks up. Despite this significant headwind, the unemployment rate that’s currently 6.1 percent should hit 5.4 percent by the end of 2017.

According to Gov. Rick Scott, the state has created more than 500,000 new private sector jobs since December 2010. “That’s half a million jobs in just over three years,” Scott says.

Snaith points to other positive economic indicators. The sectors expected to have the strongest average growth during 2014-2017, he says, are construction (10 percent); professional and business services (4.3 percent); trade, transportation and utilities (4 percent); education and health services (2.3 percent); and leisure and hospitality (1.8 percent).

Snaith also notes housing starts that jumped in 2013. In 2014, total starts will be more than 108,000, he projects. That will rise to just under 144,000 in 2015, hit 161,600 in 2016, and go up to 165,500 in 2017. He says the growth in residential activity will catalyze growth in the commercial sector and push employment growth in the construction sector into double digits.

While real personal income growth slowed to 1.8 percent in 2014, it’s projected to rise. From 2014-2017, real personal income growth should accelerate steadily and average 4.1 percent, with 2014 growth at 3.6 percent rising to 4.6 percent in 2017.

Housing starts will average 32.5 percent growth during 2014-2017, with the most rapid growth will be in 2014 and 2015.

Retail sales will grow at an average pace of 4.4 percent during 2014-2017.

Snaith’s forecast offers predictions through 2017 for Florida and, individually, 12 metropolitan regions: Orlando, Daytona Beach-Deltona, Gainesville, Ocala, Lakeland, Palm Bay- Melbourne, Pensacola, Miami, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay and Naples.

The complete economic report is available on UCF’s website.

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