UCF economist Sean Snaith just spoke at the Sarasota EDC’s 2012 Economic Outlook luncheon at the Hyatt Regency and gave us his predictions for the year. So what’s ahead? We’re still paying for our sins and political missteps of the past. We’ll see steady, slow growth in 2012, and most businesses will continue to hold back this year as they wait for the outcome of the presidential election and healthcare and financial regulation reform. By 2013 and 2013, we should see more job growth.
In particular, Snaith points to job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector, which rebounded in 2011, reflecting pent-up consumer demand. White collar jobs are also growing fast. And, astoundingly, education and healthcare never saw a dip in employment; in fact, employment in these sectors has steadily increased since 2001. If you want to steer your kids into any profession, healthcare sounds like the best bet.
Still a major drag on the economy here? We’ve heard it before. Real estate. It takes 800 days for a foreclosure to go through the system, he says, and until the backlog has been depleted, recovery will be difficult. He reminded us that Florida went into the recession ahead of the rest of the country because of the real estate craze and we came out of it after the rest of the country.
But we still have sunshine and retirees, and we should never minimize those assets. “Baby boomers are not getting any younger, and it’s still cold up North,” he says. Snaith says SCOPE’s Institute for the Ages is one of the best initiatives we have right now to diversify the economy. He also reminded the audience that “economic development is glacial,” so keep your expectations real. To read more of Snaith’s economic forecast, click here. To read Biz(941)’s interview with Snaith and other economists, click here.