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Robert Trigaux

Jobs ahead? Rough declines forecast for Florida and Tampa Bay metro market




Wake up and good morning. Whoa. This is hardly how I want to start the day, and end the work week, with some nasty forecasts of more jobs to be lost in Florida and the Tampa Bay area. But better to anticipate and prepare than walk blind, right? ( Photo: AP)

Job watchers at put together employment forecasts -- we're looking ahead, not behind -- for all U.S. states and metro areas. The results appear in today's USA Today. And those results are most sobering for our state and region.

Here's the rough news. Looking ahead one year, forecasts a 2.4 percent decline in employment in Florida. Only Michigan and Nevada are expected to have greater declines (2.6 percent each) while the U.S. average decline in the next year is 1.3 percent.

Let's look closer. Of all larger metro areas nationwide, Tampa Bay ranks No. 3 in the forecast of greatest declines in employment in the coming year: down 4.1 percent. That's greater than Miami (- 3.9 percent), Jacksonville (-3.8 percent), Vero Beach (-3.7 percent), West Palm Beach (-3.4 percent) Fort Lauderdale (-3.3 percent) and Orlando (-3.0 percent) -- though you can see how, cumulatively, Florida's not looking too good in the coming year.

Tampa Bay was behind only two metro areas nationwide in anticipated job loss: Elkhart, Ind. (-5.2 percent) and Sheboygan, Wis. (-4.5 percent) -- both significantly smaller metro areas than Tampa Bay.

Yes, these are just informed forecasts and not set in stone. But it's a cautionary warning that Florida and Tampa Bay are not poised for any near-term rebound. Plan accordingly.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:26am]


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