Sun Sentinel: Is Florida at risk of recession?

Article Posted on January 14, 2019

By: Marcia Heroux Pounds, South Florida Sun Sentinel

The chance of a recession in Florida has doubled in the past year, but the state is “pretty safe” from recession in 2019, economists said Monday.

Potential of a new recession is low in the next nine months, Jerry Parrish, chief economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation said at its annual economic outlook and jobs forecast in Orlando.

In an interview, University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith said he agrees job growth is slowing but that Florida's economy remains strong.

"I think we’ll continue to outperform the national economy,” Snaith said.

But J. Antonio Villamil, an economist with The Washington Economics Group in Coral Gables, said in an interview that factors such as the Brexit outcome in the United Kingdom, China growth slowing and issues with Mexico could have an impact.

“The global economy is slowing down sharply, slowing down to the point investors are concerned," “We've got a very strong Florida economy but we’re not an island.”

Economic and political uncertainties are to blame for the risk doubling, Parrish said. “When job creators see uncertainty in financial or international markets, they are less likely to invest,” he said, citing the chamber’s monthly economic index.

In 2019, Florida is expected to create 150,000 new jobs — down from 180,000 forecast a year ago and the actual 196,600. “I still expect us to be growing faster than the U.S. rate,” Parrish said.

Two South Florida counties — Broward and Palm Beach — were among the top three counties adding jobs from November 2017 to November 2018. Broward added 20,185 jobs; Palm Beach County added 19,655 jobs. Orange County added the most — 37,713 — jobs in the state.

Some factors in Florida’s economic health, according to the Florida Chamber:

-- Florida’s population continues to grow; more than 21.4 million people are estimated to call Florida home in 2019. That’s up from 21.3 million in July 2018 and 20.9 million in July 2017.

-- In 2018, Florida’s economy topped $1 trillion in 2018 — making it the 17th largest economy in the world...

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