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Robert Trigaux

5 signs the U.S., Florida economies are looking up



thumbs_up_large.pngWake up and good morning. It's not as if business journalists have suddenly been slipped happy pills. The general U.S. economy and significant pieces of the Florida economy are starting to pick up as if a new wave of economic enthusiasm has arrived. Here are some examples:

1. Tech jobs: "...the high-tech industry undergoes its biggest hiring binge in more than a decade. Not since the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s has competition been so fierce. Would-be employees are being enticed with fat contracts, hefty bonuses and such freebies as iPads, meals, sporting events and shuttle services." Nationally, nearly 150,000 tech jobs are expected to be added this year, says Sophia Koropeckyj, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, in this USA Today story.

2. Florida housing: "Florida's existing home sales surged in March, recording the single biggest month since late 2005," this St. Petersburg Times story says. Let's get more local. "Tampa Bay's existing home sales skyrocketed in March to levels not seen in nearly five years," adds this Times story.

3. Orlando tourism: Orlando hotels filled about eight of every 10 rooms in March, a rare feat that hasn't happened in three years. "Even in our best times, it's tough to get 80 percent," Scott Smith, a lodging instructor in the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management, tells the Orlando Sentinel in this story.

4. Stock market: Strong earnings from the technology sector and a bigger-than-expected rise in existing-home sales sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a nearly three-year high Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

5. Florida job potential:  In the long term, Florida is the best-positioned state in the country to create jobs across a broad spectrum of industries, a new analysis says. "Many people don't realize just how diverse Florida's economy is," Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner tells the St. Petersburg Times here.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times

[Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:34am]


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