Florida’s Economy Is Strong

By: Katherine Bustamante

Today, the Florida Chamber Foundation released it’s 2018 job creation predictions which show Florida’s economy is strong.

Key findings announced at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Economic Outlook Summit include:

 

Florida leads the nation in job creation.
The annual job predictions from the Florida Chamber Foundation are part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s ongoing research into the challenges and opportunities Florida must be ready for to secure our state’s future to 2030 and beyond. In 2016, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist and Director of Research Dr. Jerry Parrish predicted 190,000 jobs created in 2017, with year-end numbers for 2017 currently coming in at 195,000, year-over-year.

Low probability of a recession.
According to research from the Florida Chamber Foundation’s newly released Florida Leading Indicators Index, found on TheFloridaScorecard.org, there is a low probability of a recession due in part to the fact that Florida’s economy is stronger and growing faster than the U.S. economy. Florida, a low-tax state, is also expected to benefit from the recently-passed federal tax bill that may cause wealth to move from higher tax states like New York or California

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s newly released Florida Leading Indicators Index provides Florida and Florida businesses a snapshot on what they can expect in terms of near-term job growth and serves as an early warning mechanism that allows them to see trends in the economy that may signal an economic downturn.

“During the last economic downturn, Florida experienced an earlier, longer and deeper recession than the nation as a whole,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “We created this Florida Leading Indicators Index, which tracks several variables and provides an outlook for Florida’s economy, to serve as an early detection system for future economic downturns.”

Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation will work with the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Council of Business Economists, thought leaders from the Florida Leading Indicators Index.

Business confidence is high.
The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 project is part of the multi-year, once in a decade Cornerstone research project that develops the blueprint for Florida’s future and has driven strategic plan creation at both the state and local level. Florida 2030 research takes a closer look at what Florida needs to do to create pathways to prosperity in each zip code, create vibrant and sustainable communities, foster job creation and innovation and move Florida’s economy from the 16th largest global economy to the 10th largest.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s preliminary findings from interviews with Florida “C-Suite” executives, conducted as part of its Florida 2030 research, show businesses are feeling optimistic about Florida’s future. According to the University of Florida’s Consumer Sentiment Survey, consumer sentiment also remains high, at 95.9 percent. This is consistent with a continued increase in Floridians who believe Florida is headed in the right direction, also tracked on TheFloridaScorecard.org, according to the most recent polling available from the Florida Chamber’s Political Research team.

Since 2016, Florida has created 195,000 jobs and has continued to pay down debt, while U.S. Federal Debt continues to rise. Strong growth is due in part to the business community’s focus on education at every level of Florida’s education system, investments in trade and logistics systems and infrastructure, and a focus on job creation.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. But, while our Florida’s economic outlook for 2018 is positive, it’s not without risks, some of which can be mitigated and some of which are larger than Florida,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Florida’s leaders should remain focused on positioning Florida as a leader in global job creation, innovation and economic opportunity. We must continue to signal that Florida is open for business and ready for economic development investments.”

Florida’s constraints.
Based on Florida Chamber Foundation estimates, there is a 91 percent chance that Florida’s economy will NOT fall into a recession during the first 9 months of 2018. Florida is expected to once again add jobs at a higher rate that the U.S Economy with 180,000 jobs expected to be created in 2018, 107,000 of those jobs are expected to be created during the first six months.

While Florida’s unemployment rate remains below the national average and Florida’s economy is strong, low unemployment suggests a constrained market for talent. According to research found on TheFloridaScorecard.org, there are 265,200 people in Florida looking for jobs and 369,000 jobs in Florida looking for people. While most people looking for work in Florida should be able to quickly find employment, there is skills gap that must be bridged for Florida to continue to succeed.

If Florida can look to both train more and attract more qualified workers, Florida’s economy could create more jobs than the estimated 180,000 for 2018. One thing to note is that, due to Florida’s attractiveness as a place for businesses and families and the new federal tax bill, Florida should expect to experience more pre-retirement age workers (40-50 year olds) moving from higher tax states. The impacts of this are multiple but include a population of high-income earners that can contribute to Florida’s economy both fiscally as well as through skill sharing.

Challenges and Opportunities on the Horizon
Puerto Rico
One factor on the horizon that the Florida Chamber Foundation continues to watch is how many recent arrivals from Puerto Rico will remain in Florida. While projections differ, the Florida Chamber Foundation estimates approximately 230,000 arrivals from Puerto Rico will remain in Florida. Those who are finding themselves resettled from Puerto Rico to Florida could add to a skilled talent pool that helps create economic opportunity in Florida.