For Tampa Bay, 8.8% jobless rate by 2010
Want a peek at how the Tampa Bay economy will do next year? Most of it isn't pretty but at least you'll be better prepared. I asked several key economists who focus on the Florida economy, "So just how long and bad will the recession be for the Tampa Bay area?" Their answers were plain and simple: Long and bad.
Details of their views appear in this column about next year's prospects I wrote in Sunday's St. Petersburg Times. Here's the bottom line on our local recession from University of Florida economist David Denslow (in photo): "Tampa (Bay) will be worse than the U.S., longer and deeper. Pretty much the same as Florida, perhaps slightly more severe."
The critical forecast? Watch our metrowide unemployment rate eventually hit 8.8 percent, while Florida will peak at 8.4 percent — probably in early 2010. Currently 7.4 percent of Tampa Bay's work force is unemployed. Statewide, unemployment is 7 percent while the nation is in the high 6's. Find other comments from University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith along with Wachovia Bank's Mark Vitner and Raymond James Financial's Scott Brown.
And here's an online bonus from the chief executive at Tampa Bay's biggest public company. Tech Data Corp. CEO Bob Dutkowsky (in photo taken by Carrie Pratt of the St. Petersburg Times) responded with his own forecast for 2009:
"I expect the economy to remain in this slowdown state for at least several more quarters. Every business will need to adjust its plans and budgets to this economic reality. During economic downturns, smart companies look to strengthen relationships with their customers, vendors and business partners. When the economy recovers (and it WILL recover), these smart companies will rebound first."
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist