Florida & Metro Forecast: Job Market Helps Florida’s Economy Outpace Nation

Florida & Metro Forecast: Job Market Helps Florida’s Economy Outpace Nation

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s time in office is coming to a close, but the state’s economic growth will continue to broaden and even exceed the predicted national averages into 2021, according to University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith’s latest quarterly report.

“When Gov. Scott rolled out his 7-7-7 campaign in 2010, promising to create 700,000 jobs over seven years with seven detailed steps, it was initially met with disbelief from political opponents and the media alike,” said Snaith, director of the UCF Institute for Economic Competitiveness, which produces the quarterly Florida & Metro Forecast. “But the recovery of Florida’s labor market during his administration has been remarkable – creating nearly 1.5 million payroll jobs for a 46 percent increase over normal expected growth – and it is poised to make even further gains.”

Floridians can expect that trend to continue through 2021 with payroll jobs rising and unemployment continuing a downward progression, according to the forecast. Real Gross State Product (RGSP), payroll jobs and the labor force are expected to continue to grow at a higher rate than the national average through 2021.

From 2018-2021, the forecast shows Florida’s economy, as measured by RGSP, expanding at an average annual rate of 3.6 percent. Average growth is expected to be 0.5 percentage points faster than the institute’s forecasted average for U.S. Real GDP growth over the same period.

The sectors expected to have the strongest average job growth over the next three years are construction (6.2 percent), professional and business services (4.9 percent), financial (2.7 percent), trade, transportation and utilities (1.6 percent), leisure and hospitality (1.5 percent), and education and health services (1.5 percent).

The housing market will remain relatively stagnant due to the closing gap on inventory and availability over the next few years, Snaith said, adding that price appreciation will decelerate as supply catches up with demand tempered by rising mortgage rates.

The forecast shows retail sales growing at an average pace of more than 4.7 percent through 2021, boosted by a stronger national economy, continued strength in Florida’s labor market, bigger paychecks and rising household wealth.