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State Economist Says Florida's Recovery Is Steady

Buoyed by strong tourism numbers and population growth, Florida is experiencing a steady but uneven recovery, the Legislature’s chief economist is telling Tallahassee business leaders.

Office of Economic and Demographic Research coordinator Amy Baker painted a mostly encouraging picture for the Greater Tallahassee Area Chamber of Commerce.

Employment is back to where it was before the recession, Baker says, but when it comes to wages, Florida is still struggling to reach the pre-recession level of 89 percent of national average. In the not too distant future, Baker warns, 56 percent of all Florida newcomers will be aging baby boomers. 

“We are not very far along yet. The biggest effect of what we will see from the baby boomers is still ahead of us. It will be pretty much 2020 through 2040.”

Baker says recovery hasn’t been felt evenly across Florida and the biggest challenge of the Legislature is avoiding one-size-fits-all solutions.

Chamber President Sue Dick says a Senate priority on improving the state’s  university system could bode well for the local economy.

“That is our competitive advantage. We are a dynamic capital city in a great state and we have higher ed institutions that are an asset to our community as well.”

Baker says the next economic forecast will likely come in March, but she doesn’t expect much change.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.