Chamber Foundation study: Florida has “once-in-a-generation” chance for strong economic growth

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Florida’s strong financial foundation puts it in an excellent position for growth and economic activity, according to the annual state-of-the-state report released today by the Florida Chamber Foundation.

Bentina Terry, Chair of the Florida Chamber Foundation, presented the report during the opening ceremonies of the three-day Future of Florida Forum, held this week in Orlando. Terry is also vice president of External Affairs and Corporate Services for Gulf Power.

“In just one year, Florida’s economy has seen a substantial boost with 3,000 more businesses than last year, and 131,000 net new jobs,” Terry said in a statement. “Florida also regained a Top 10 ranking for educational quality and prepared 224,120 college students to enter the workforce. With record-breaking tourism numbers, a rising housing market, continued export growth and increased manufacturing output – Florida’s economy grew by more than $30 billion from the previous year.”

On Monday, the Foundation released the Florida Trade and Logistics Study 2.0, which highlighted the a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” for the state to build on its economic strengths – tourism, agriculture and growth – to create 150,000 new trade and logistics jobs over the next five years. It is the best chance for the Sunshine State to become a global hub for trade, logistics and export-oriented manufacturing activities.

As much as Florida is well prepared for increased economic activity, workforce and innovation,  the study came with a warning that the state still faces challenges:

  • While 20,000 net new jobs are created each month, 13,000 initial new reemployment claims are filed each week
  • Half of the drop in unemployment is from workers dropping out of the labor force,
  • Florida experienced 70,902 foreclosures last quarter, and
  • Thirty-nine states posted higher income gains over the last year.

“We have a responsibility to lead Florida in the right direction to help ensure we continue to secure Florida’s future through private-sector job creation and economic growth,” Terry said.

The Future of Florida Forum continues at the Disney Contemporary Resort through Wednesday, October 16.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.