Florida Unemployment May Top 8 Percent

Florida could lose a total of 315,000 jobs by 2010 with unemployment rising as high as 8.4 percent, a University of Central Florida economist projected Thursday.

Sean Snaith, director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, forecasts that unemployment will peak in mid-2010 before declining to about 8.2 percent by the end of 2011. Snaith says the construction business will shed more than 10 percent of its jobs in 2009, though he projects the losses to slow in 2010. He isn’t projecting a net gain of construction jobs until the third quarter of 2011.

Retail sales could pick up sooner than that, though. Snaith projected a return to positive retail sales growth as soon as the second quarter of next year because of an expected federal stimulus plan. “During 2010-11, real retail sales will grow at an average pace of 6.2 percent as consumers come back to the land of the living,” he said.

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