The Florida Economy Gained Momentum in 2018
The Florida economy continues to show strength as the economic cycle matures. Florida businesses are benefitting from tax reform and the state’s competitive cost structure. This in turn has led to job opportunities which continue to draw workers into the state. The pace of hiring in 2018 has been particularly strong as Florida added 182,400 jobs through September. This is more jobs than the state created in all of 2017. With the state’s unemployment rate sitting at 3.5 percent as of September, we expect job growth to moderate somewhat heading into 2019 as Florida’s labor markets continue to tighten. The Florida economy also continues to benefit from improving domestic demand. U.S. consumer demand and consumer sentiment are strong positives and gas prices remain relatively cheap supporting increased travel into the state. According to Visit Florida, the number of domestic travelers visiting Florida was up 6.8 percent year to date in Q2. An overall growing U.S. economy also supports Florida’s housing market as individuals look for either rental properties or move into the state for retirement. Florida’s housing market continues to show positive momentum, bucking the national trend which has been cooler heading into the second half of 2018. Growing demand for Florida housing should support ongoing construction into next year. While Florida economic activity was solid through Q3, it is uncertain how Hurricane Michael will impact the state’s data for Q4. U.S. employment totals for October did not appear to be impacted by the storm. As with most natural disasters, while a storm can lead to business and personal losses, total economic losses are challenging to measure. In well insured areas, the rebuilding effort from hurricane damage often leads to renewed economic momentum.
For a PDF version of this report, click here: November 2018 FL Economic Outlook
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