Florida had a little less momentum heading into 2018 than originally anticipated. In our February forecast, the official Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed Florida added 213,500 jobs in 2017. That number was revised down by 23 percent, to 163,900 by the BLS earlier this year. Florida’s real gross domestic product also saw a significant downward revision, including a quarterly decline in the second quarter of 2017. The main reason for the weak Q2 real GDP number was a negative revision to government sector GDP. If we look at Florida real GDP for 2017Q2 less the government sector, or total private sector real GDP, it would have been up by 1.4 percent. After 2017Q2, economic activity in Florida rebounded in the second half of the year, with continued momentum into the first quarter of 2018. Strong demand is fueling Florida’s housing industry. The months’ supply of single-family homes for sale in Florida was a tight 3.8 months as of March, according to Florida Realtors. Tight supply of single-family homes is supporting construction activity throughout the state’s major housing markets. While the number of multifamily housing starts have stabilized around 2016 levels, single-family construction continues to rise. Florida single-family housing starts were up to a 90,000 unit annual rate in the first quarter of this year, the strongest reading since 2007. This boosted hiring in Florida’s construction sector, which added 15,800 jobs in the first quarter of 2018. The state is also seeing strong growth in its real estate rental and leasing services industry, which is a significant factor in the Florida economy. Florida’s housing sector is expected to see ongoing positive momentum through the second half of 2018, supporting our expectations for a moderate expansion for Florida’s economy this year.
For a PDF version of this report click here: FL-Outlook-0518.
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