UNF survey: Jacksonville-area economy expanded in March
Business concept of family economy and expenses. Dollar bills and family sign

Business concept of family economy and expenses. Dollar bills and family sign
Jacksonville-area business did see a decrease in backlogs of work and inventory.

The leading economic indicators in North Florida show that the Jacksonville area business scene is expanding with a “positive trend” of business expansion in March, according to the latest Jacksonville Economic Monitoring Survey conducted by the University of North Florida (UNF).

Albert Loh, associate dean of the Coggin College of Business at UNF, oversaw the survey and concluded that indicators show “a slight expansion in the region’s manufacturing sector.” The survey for the Jacksonville area tabulates several factors to establish the scale of business trends in the area, such as business output, employment, orders, inventory, purchases and prices, among other elements.

The biggest uptick in the Jacksonville-area economy in March was business output. That figure jumped from the assigned February rating of 49 to 59 in March.

“An index above 50 suggests that more companies reported an increase in production (and) output compared to those reporting a decrease. This signifies growing economic activity, likely leading to increased employment and a generally positive business outlook,” the UNF report stated.

The next biggest month-to-month economic indicator jump for the First Coast area came in output prices, or what businesses are charging for the costs of providing goods and service. That figure came in at 56 in March, up by 6 points from the February figure of 50.

“This indicates that a majority of companies surveyed reported higher prices for their goods and services than in the previous month. The expansion in output prices may generate revenue growth for manufacturers but put upward pressure on prices, which could impact consumer purchasing power,” according to the business college survey.

Out of the dozen local economic indicators, only two went down in scale in March and they were in areas that some businesses welcome. Both of those drops were in backlogs of work and inventory. Those areas showed nominal signs of contraction instead of expansion.

The inventory contraction is not overly surprising because of nagging general views about the general health of the economy, researchers said.

“While a slight contraction in the stock of materials purchased may not be alarming, it could indicate a cautious approach by businesses in response to economic uncertainties,” the UNF report concluded.

The decreasing number of backlog orders at businesses in the Jacksonville area may be more concerning, according to the UNF researchers.

“The contraction in backlogs may have several implications: A decline in backlogs could signal reduced demand for goods and services, impacting production and employment levels. Companies may be managing existing orders efficiently, but the lack of backlog growth might hinder expansion plans,” UNF economists said.

Most of the other indicators showed a 1- or 2-point difference between February and March. But another major indicator that showed an increase was the business activity outlook for the next year. That North Florida figure increased by 3 points from 53 in February to 56 in March.

UNF researchers agree that factor sticks out as general growing optimism about the economy on the First Coast.

“This positive outlook can have ripple effects across the economy, leading to increased investments, job creation, and overall economic growth,” the UNF report concluded.


Editor’s note: Drew Dixon writes development projects and website material for the Coggin College of Business but is not involved with the UNF Jacksonville Economic Monitoring Survey.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704