Florida should see steady growth within the next 30 years, reaching 30 million residents and the economy surpassing $1.8 trillion, but not without a few hiccups along the way, said Sean Snaith, University of Central Florida economist.
“While the population and real gross domestic product will continue to climb over the next three decades, it’s reasonable to expect we will have three to five recessions over that time,” said Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at UCF College of Business.
The UCF Institute for Economic Competitiveness publishes its 30-year projections along with its second quarter Florida Forecast each year to assist organizations making long-term decisions. The forecasts are designed to provide industries such as transportation, education, development, government and utilities with input into their long-range decision making.
Over the next three years, growth of the real gross domestic product is forecasted to expand an average of 3.1 percent a year. Real gross state product is expected to expand 3 percent in 2017, 3.7 percent in 2018, and then easing to 2.9 percent in 2019 and 2.6 percent in 2020.
“Payroll job growth in Florida is robust and continues to outpace national job growth,” said Snaith, noting that year-over-year growth should average 3.3 percent in 2017 and 2018, 2.3 percent in 2019 and 1.7 percent in 2020. Average job growth over the 2017-2020 period will be 0.8 percentage points faster than the national economy.
The state’s housing market will continue to improve slowly through 2020, even with rising interest rates. Housing starts are expected to be 135,598 in 2017, 151,409 in 2018, 157,349 in 2019 and 165,172 in 2020.
“Housing starts will accelerate going forward, but not fast enough to ease the shortage of single-family housing in the short run,” said Snaith. “Meanwhile, house-price appreciation should decelerate over this period as supply catches up with demand.”
Labor-force growth in Florida is forecasted to average 2 percent from 2017-2020, thanks to consistently strong payroll job creation.
“Labor-force growth makes the task of lowering the state’s unemployment rate more challenging, but Florida’s job creation will overcome this counterweight,” said Snaith. He expects unemployment rate will fall to 3.9 percent in 2018, 3.7 percent in 2019 and tick up to 3.8 percent in 2020. It’s currently at about 5 percent.
For the full forecast, see business.ucf.edu/centers-institutes/institute-economic-competitiveness/ 
Snaith is a national expert in economics, forecasting, market sizing and economic analysis who authors quarterly reports about the state of the economy. Bloomberg News has named Snaith as one of the country’s most accurate forecasters for his predictions about the Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rate, the Federal Funds rate.
The Institute for Economic Competitiveness strives to provide complete, accurate and timely national, state and regional forecasts and economic analyses. Through these analyses, the institute provides valuable resources to the public and private sectors for informed decision-making.