Make us your home page
Instagram

Economist brings mixed outlook to Pasco business leaders

SAN ANTONIO — Pasco business leaders got good news and bad news Friday about this year's economic outlook. The good news: It won't get much worse. The bad news: It won't get much better.

"In the meantime, here's a puppy," said Raymond James Financial economist Scott J. Brown, showing off a photo of Spartacus, his Parson Russell terrier, at the end of his PowerPoint presentation.

Brown was the guest speaker at the annual Business Development Week luncheon at the Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club sponsored by the Pasco Economic Development Council.

The public-private partner- ship puts on the event each year to cap a week of seminars and networking events for area businesses.

This year's speaker also was a representative of the firm that last year announced plans to build two office towers, each 100,000 square feet, at State Road 56 and Mansfield Boulevard. According to documents provided by the county, Raymond James expects to bring 100 jobs to the site by 2014, and would have 750 jobs by 2024.

Brown, who told the Times he was not allowed to comment on when the company might hire workers and help grease Pasco's economy, gave attendees a primer on the Great Recession and how it differed from other downturns.

Because it originated from a financial crisis, he said, it's deeper and the recovery will take longer than downturns caused by the normal business cycle.

"This is not your father's recession," he said.

Actually, he said, it could have easily been a repeat of the Great Depression if the government hadn't lowered taxes and interest rates and yes, bailed out the banks.

"I know the public hates that bank rescue," he said. "But that was absolutely necessary. Without that the recession would have been much more severe."

As for the federal stimulus, it kept the economy from getting much weaker, but it did create short-term deficits. However, deficits don't hurt over the short-term, he said. But they will have an effect over the long-term.

Because of those concerns, he said, "expect a much tighter fiscal policy in 2013."

That's when the Bush tax cuts and payroll tax cuts — if they are extended past the two months approved by Congress — are expected to expire. Spending cuts also will kick in.

"In total, that could subtract up to 4 percent from GDP growth," he said.

Expect unemployment to decrease but only gradually, with hiring from smaller and mid-size firms. Technology has allowed larger companies to avoid adding workers and horde cash.

"Job growth is not terrible, not great," he said, adding that he is the only economist at Raymond James, which years ago would have about 10 on staff. Now, because of the Internet, data is readily available so fewer people are needed.

Headwinds are housing, which has bounced along the bottom, and state and local governments shrinking their workforces, along with volatile energy prices.

"For the middle class, that's a big deal," he said. "It's one of the biggest wild cards."

As for Florida and Pasco, companies are hiring, but not enough to ramp up the economy.

"We're treading water," he said. "We're still a long, long way from a full recovery."

Lisa Buie can be reached at buie@tampabay.com or (813) 909-4604.

Economist brings mixed outlook to Pasco business leaders 01/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 27, 2012 8:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul

    Markets

    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall

    Business

    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages

    Business

    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel

    Business

    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.