Regional News: Predicted Job Losses for 2009


Predicted 2009 Job Losses

Northwest Florida’s major metro areas are expected to lose 15,500 jobs by the end of this year, according to a study released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. And return to solid economic growth is still at least a year away, says the report prepared by Massachusetts-based IHS Global Insight. But the Panhandle likely will fare far better than other areas of the state, some of which are expected to hit an unemployment rate of more than 11 percent. Projected job losses in Northwest Florida’s four metropolitan areas, are:

  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent – 5,500
  • Tallahassee – 5,000
  • Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin – 2,600
  • Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach – 2,400

Florida’s highest unemployment rates are expected to occur in Ocala (10.9%), Sebastion-Vero Beach (11.2%), Punta Gorda (11.6%) and Palm Coast (13.6%). The statistics project a significantly deteriorating job market in the nation’s 363 metropolitan areas this year — with all but five losing jobs. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area in South Florida is expected to experience Florida’s greatest loss of jobs during the year, nearly 85,000.


Seaports Get New Voice


Florida maritime leaders  have established a new statewide organization to advocate for Florida’s maritime transportation industry, which provides more than 350,000 jobs and contributes more than $74 billion a year to the state’s economy.

The Florida Maritime Leadership Coalition’s membership includes the state’s public deepwater seaports, cargo and cruise lines, trucking companies and organized labor.

An economic study conducted for the Florida Department of Transportation found that every $1 invested in port infrastructure improvements yields nearly $7 in economic benefit. However, while 70 percent of goods consumed in Florida arrive via our seaports, less than 2 percent of transportation funds are spent on expanding and improving our ports.


Quarter Four Visitor Numbers, 2008 vs. 2007


VISIT Florida’s tourism research can be seen as a gauge of the health of Florida’s economic outlook. What a difference one year makes. Source: VISIT Florida Research Team

2008 Visitors    % of Total    Most Recent    Value    Change

Total Visitors    100.0%    Oct-Dec 2008    $16.6 million    -13.6%

Air Visitors    54.3%    Oct-Dec 2008    $9.0 million    -12.2%

Non-Air Visitors    45.7%    Oct-Dec 2008    $7.6 million    -15.2%

2007 Visitors    % of Total    Most Recent    Value    Change

Total Visitors    100.0%    Oct-Dec 2007    $19.2 million    +9.5%

Air Visitors    53.4%    Oct-Dec 2007    $10.3 million    +2.9%

Non-Air Visitors    46.6%    Oct-Dec 2007    $9.0 million    +18.3%


Import/Export Industry Alive and Well


In spite of the ongoing gloomy economic news, Florida’s imports and exports revealed significant increases in overall trade during 2008:

  • Merchandise exports reached $73 billion, an increase of 23.9 percent over 2007. U.S. export growth was 11.8 percent.
  • Florida imports gained 2.9 percent, totaling $57.5 billion, while U.S. imports grew by 7.3 percent.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international companies on average, grow faster, pay 15 percent higher wages and are much more profitable than those that do not export. In 2008, Florida jobs sustained by exports of goods totaled 596,992, and by exports of services, 424,760.

At the end of 2008, Florida had surpassed Illinois to become the nation’s fifth largest export state. Florida’s top five export destinations have been Brazil, Venezuela, Canada, Mexico and Colombia. Leading exports include: industrial machinery, including computers; electric machinery (e.g., sound equipment; TV equipment, parts); vehicles (excluding railway or tramway) and parts; optical, photographic, medical or surgical instruments; and aircraft, spacecraft and parts.