Florida’s Higher Education System Continues to Lead the Nation

We already know Florida ranks first in the nation for higher education, but did you also know Florida is in the top 10 in the nation for college affordability? The latest report from the College Board shows Florida continues to maintain its ranking as second in the nation in college affordability for public four-year institutions, and for public two-year institutions Florida’s position moved up to the 7th spot.

Check out TheFloridaScorecard.org for the latest College Affordability data, new data on apprenticeship programs in Florida, as well as metrics that impact your community’s economy.

“Our economy increasingly requires employees to have some form of postsecondary education or training. Eliminating barriers to postsecondary education is crucial to supporting businesses with a strong workforce. Among those barriers is affordability, and Florida remains a leader in affordability at its public higher education institutions. Our public higher education institutions will surely remain steadfast in eliminating barriers and preparing future and current employees for the changing needs of businesses.”

Gregory Adam Haile, Esq.,
President, Broward College; Trustee, Florida Chamber Foundation

Education Trends and News Updates

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By the Numbers: March 2017

Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Presents April By the Numbers

Small Businesses Issues, Job Creation and More

During the Florida Chamber Foundation’s recent By The Numbers, the Florida Chamber Foundation takes a closer look at job numbers found on TheFloridaScorecard.org.

Florida has created 246,100 non-farm jobs over the last 12 months and our state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.8 percent. Yet there are still 483,000 Floridians who are unemployed, out of a labor force of more than 10.1 million, and there are currently 242,600 jobs looking for people. For the first time in recent history, we have created more construction jobs (up by 7.9 percent), than leisure and hospitality. The Florida Chambers Foundation’s Chief Economist also discusses the results of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey. Watch the video to get an inside look on small business issues, job creation and more.

Florida’s Record Breaking Tourism Creates Economic Opportunity

According to tourism numbers released today, Florida welcomed 112.8 million visitors from other states and other countries in 2016.

As the third largest state in the nation, how does tourism impact Florida’s long-term future?

When visitors come to Florida, they help create jobs and pay $6 billion in state taxes and $5.3 billion in local taxes. Sales and other taxes paid by visitors help keep Floridians from having to pay an income tax. In fact, visitors to Florida pay in taxes the equivalent of $1,535 per Florida household.

Tourism in Florida not only helps create jobs, but also allows Floridians in those jobs to acquire employability skills.

In the Florida Chamber Foundation’s latest Cornerstone research project, Florida Jobs 2030, the Florida Chamber Foundation interviewed more than 90 stakeholders from Florida’s business, education, nonprofit and workforce communities to analyze 21st-century jobs and the skills required to perform them. Research from Florida Jobs 2030 found businesses in Florida and around the nation need workers who are trained in employability skills— soft skills like critical thinking, communications and problem solving that are crucial to both employees and employers.

Jobs in Florida’s hospitality industry help Floridians gain these high-demand employability skills, which can benefit all Florida companies.

Learn More

  • TheFloridaScorecard.org, Florida’s leading metric database, tracks visitors and visitor spending in Florida and hundreds of other metrics that show the current state of Florida. Click here to learn more.
  • Click here to download and share Florida Jobs 2030. Share your comments and feedback with us at jmcnabb@flfoundation.org.

Future Workforce Needs To Remain a Florida Focus

Earlier this week, I spoke to the Florida State Board of Education Workforce Workshop on Florida’s workforce trends, and current and future job demand. Joined by representatives from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity as well as CareerSource Florida, I used TheFloridaScorecard.org to show what metrics Florida’s business leaders are tracking at the state and county levels.

By 2030, Florida will need two million net new jobs. Will our state be ready to fill those jobs? According to data shown on TheFloridaScorecard.org, high school graduation rates, college affordability and educational attainment are improving, but are they improving fast enough to meet the growing needs of Florida businesses?

For a county-by-county view of how your community is performing, check out TheFloridaScorecard.org and let us know what you think and share your ideas on how we can improve Florida’s talent pipeline.

Learn More:

Watch our recently released Florida Wins education video that shows how we can help turn today’s learners, into tomorrow’s earners.

Florida Still Has Too Much Hurricane Risk

While Florida has billions of dollars invested in hurricane risk, we’ve been fortunate no hurricane has made landfall since 2005. However, there’s a really tricky thing about hurricanes — they are impossible to predict when and where they will hit in advance of the season.

As someone who makes forecasts for a living — economic forecasts, not weather — we know that using the past to forecast the future is fraught with difficulty. If you had taken a look at the history of hurricane landfalls in Florida, you would likely have never forecast zero hurricanes to hit Florida during any year. Frankly, had you forecast the number hitting Florida to be zero in the last 10 years, nobody would have believed you, but that’s what has happened.

And even though Florida’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund has a substantial amount of cash, most Floridians don’t realize the CAT Fund borrows money (called pre-event bonding) to make sure we have enough resources in case a severe storm or series of storms hits.

The fund currently relies on about $2.7 billion in borrowed money. This gives the fund the liquidity it needs to cover its obligations for the year. However, the risk is that once we deplete the fund or have to draw it down substantially, Floridians are at risk in subsequent hurricane seasons. On top of that, we’ll have to pay back the borrowed money.

The fortunate thing is the lack of hurricanes hitting Florida has given the fund an opportunity to increase its cash on hand as it prepares for the inevitable hurricanes. However, Florida still has too much hurricane risk in its overall portfolio.

As is common with other types of portfolios, managers reduce risk by hedging, often by purchasing options that will protect their position. In Florida’s case, that would be purchasing reinsurance to protect a portion of the cash balance in the fund, or cover the money the fund borrowed in advance to be ready for the hurricane season. Managing Florida’s risk to preserve the fund’s cash so that Floridians will be paid in a timely manner for storm damages helps to lay off risk to others. Yes, it costs money, just as it costs money to insure any other asset.

Some people will say we don’t need to lay off any of our risk to those outside the state — and you know they just might be right — none of us will know until after the hurricane season ends. But we also know they can’t predict hurricanes with any certainty either.

We should remember that a storm the size of Andrew, and the damage that it inflicted on Florida, was widely believed to not be possible at the time. All the hurricane models had to be updated after Andrew, and insurance became almost unobtainable in many parts of Florida after that storm.

Even after the multiple hurricanes of 2004-05, we learned that a series of smaller storms can deplete the cash of the fund, and assessments or “hurricane taxes” are applied to insurance policies on Floridians’ homes, cars, boats and motorcycles.

And much has changed to increase our risk since the last hurricane landfall. Our state has grown by an additional 2.5 million people.

While it may be challenging to predict the future based on past experience, one thing is certain. It took Florida more than 10 years to build up the cash we currently have to help pay for future storms. Given that reinsurance costs are near historic lows, now might be a good time to insure some of the $2.7 billion Florida has borrowed.


May 17, 2016 | Articles | SunSentinel.com
By Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist, Florida Chamber Foundation