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Forecast calls for a vibrant Florida

By Christina Rexrode
Published June 27, 2007


Never mind $3-per-gallon gas or a sluggish housing market. It's going to take more than that to slow down Florida's economy.

That's the theory of a researcher at the University of Central Florida, whose first 30-year economic forecast for the state will be published today.

Sean Snaith, the forecast's author and the director of UCF's Institute for Economic Competitiveness, says the "soft landing" the state is now experiencing shouldn't have any dire long-term consequences. The population, labor force and gross state product will increase significantly over the next three decades. Manufacturing, he says, will be the only industry to lose jobs.

Unemployment will rise, too, but "it's not going to be anything earthshaking, " Snaith said.

But don't expect Florida to shed its reputation as a retiree haven: In the Tampa Bay area, the percentage of residents in the labor force will drop from about 49 percent to 46 percent in the next 30 years, mirroring national trends.

"It's not going to turn into some hipster place, " Snaith said.

Next 30 years look strong

University of Central Florida researcher Sean Snaith expects the state's population, labor force and gross state product to increase over the next 30 years. He expects the bay area (Pinellas, Hillsborough, Hernando and Pasco), below, to reflect that trend:


Population 2.8-million 4.2-million
Labor force 1.35-million 1.9-million
Unemployment rate 3.5 percent 3.9 percent
Real per-capita income $31, 000 $56, 900
Gross metro product $105-billion $292-billion

Source: Florida & Metro Forecast: 2007-2036

[Last modified June 27, 2007, 17:02:44]

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