Florida Chamber forecasts strong Sunshine State economy in 2020
Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish is bullish of the Sunshine State in 2020.

Jerry Parrish
2019 economic slowdown didn't happen and 2020 should be strong

The year 2020 should be another sunny one for the Florida economy, though there are storm clouds on the horizon, according to the latest 2020 Economic Outlook Presentation unveiled Thursday by the Florida Chamber Foundation.

That presentation forecasts 200,000 new jobs will be created this year and that Florida’s population growth will rebound from a bit of a slowdown in 2019 to return to a rate of adding about 900 new residents every day, according to the presentation from Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish.

Yet Parrish and Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson offered cautions. Specifically they called out the constitutional amendment heading for the ballot this year that would ask voters to mandate increases in the minimum wage eventually to $15 an hour. They also warned about Florida Legislature considerations to reduce or eliminate funding for VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing arm. Other concerns include international tensions surrounding trade tariffs and oil prices.

“Florida is at a crossroads and we have to make the right long-term decisions,” Wilson said. “We realize that not everyone agrees with the Florida Chamber’s approach to championing free enterprise and growing the private sector, but we’re going to continue to fight for what we believe works for all Floridians.

Parrish, in his annual presentation, said some of the factors of economic uncertainty that emerged in 2018 have passed, and the prospects for a recession have fallen significantly.

Last year he projected a slight slow down, and creation of 150,000 new jobs for 2019. The state actually saw an increase of 217,000. This year he is predicting 200,000.

On the other hand, Florida’s population in 2019 grew by a net of just 640 new residents a day, less than his 900 a day prediction. This year, he is returning to his prediction of 900 new residents per day. That would mean a net increase of 320,000 people in 2020.

Wilson said that population growth represents $1.19 million of new income moving into Florida every hour of every day.

This comes after 2019, which Parrish said “was an excellent year for Florida.”

The probability of a recession over the next nine months is 21.2 percent, a much lower risk than the peak of 38.1 percent last September. It’s in large part due to improved interest rate yield spreads, and strong consumer confidence, Wilson said.

“Florida continued to create jobs at a higher rate than the U.S. and that’s been going on since 2012,” he said. “Florida has continued to diversify its economy. Over he past few years, our industry diversification number has gone from the bottom half of the states to now in the top 20 of all sates in the country. One of the reasons for this is Florida has been growing manufacturing jobs at nearly three times the rate of the United States as a whole.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


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