Make us your home page

Will Florida see construction jobs boom? Moody's says yes, others, no

Hammer and nails could be flying off the shelves next year if the predictions of one economic forecaster come true.

But other economists aren’t so bullish.

Moody’s Analytics anticipates that construction jobs will grow by nearly 27 percent across the state and 45 percent in the Tampa Bay area by the end of third quarter next year. Moody’s also expects Florida to see a 3 percent increase in job growth, compared with 1.1 percent nationally.

Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner, who closely tracks Florida, doesn’t expect the state to outpace the rest of the nation. He predicts about 150,000 new jobs, a 2.1 percent increase.

In a state littered with thousands of vacant building and homes, Vitner doesn't see a building boom in the near future. But any new construction will help, he added.

"It won't take much to move the needle," Vitner said.

The director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida predicts bigger job gains in 2012 and 2013. Sean Snaith looks for growth in white-collar work, the trade/transportation fields and the health care sector. But not the construction industry, he said.

As for 2011, Snaith added: "It's going to be pretty slow.

Florida construction has been hit harder by the Great Recession than any other field — almost cut in half since 2006 with the loss of more than 300,000 jobs.

A Moody's economist acknowledges the real estate surplus in Florida but predicts more people to flock here in the next year as the national outlook improves. That, coupled with increased buying power of consumers, healthy corporate balance sheets and improved financing, will sprout more jobs, Chris Lafakis said.

He pointed out that building permits are now 90 percent lower than before the collapse of the real estate market. Supply-and-demand will be a leading factor in near future, he said.

"We can only sell off so much excess inventory," he said. "At some point, people have to start buying cars and homes."

Although much has changed in Florida since 2006, one thing hasn't.

The sunshine and warm temperatures will again draw retirees and working-age people from across the country and abroad, Lafakis added. One of the biggest benefactors will be the sticks-and-bricks industry, he said.

"Florida is a trendsetter in the nation," he said. "It will be one of the fastest growing states in the next five years."

Locally, Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, said any increase in construction jobs will help the troubled market.

Still, he cautioned that any uptick could be the result of the industry being decimated in the last several years. Moody's predictions seem ambitious, Brown said: "There's a big mountain to climb."

Pat Neal, president of Neal Communities in Lakewood Ranch, agrees with Moody's predictions. He attributes an increase of jobs to interest rates and low home prices. The company, he said, will build 255 homes this year and about 388 next year, creating the need for more workers.

"The Great Recession has bottomed out," he said. "It's time to buy."

Mark Puente can be reached at or (727) 893-8459.

•Construction: Up 26.7 percent

•Natural resources and mining: Up 4.6 percent

•Professional and business services: Up 3.5 percent

•Leisure and hospitality: Up 3.4 percent

•Educational and health services: Up 3.1 percent

Source: Moody's via USA Today

Will Florida see construction jobs boom? Moody's says yes, others, no 11/10/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 11, 2010 5:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]