To a certain extent, Florida cannot help but benefit from a more robust national economy — think more tourists, more trade, possibly more people moving here.
But the recession hammered this state harder than most others. Florida's unemployment rate remains almost 2 percentage points higher than the national average and is expected to climb higher in the coming months. Unemployment is often what economist call a lagging indicator — it doesn't get better until well after recovery is under way. And as long as it stays so high, it will be a heavy anchor on Florida's recovery.
Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities who closely tracks the Florida market, said he wasn't surprised with the healthy-sounding report.
"Parts of the economy are getting better, but not the part that matters to most Americans," he said, citing a rising loss of jobs.
One encouraging note, Vitner said, is that his analysis indicates that the recession "technically" ended in Florida — meaning we hit the bottom of the curve — around the same time as the rest of the country last year.
But so far, Florida has had small fits of recovery, less dramatic than the rest of the country. "The rate of improvement may even be faster than the rest of the country at some point," he said, "but we have more ground to recover."