Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Business

Florida Chamber Foundation economist sees strong 2020 ahead

Job growth looks promising and chances of recession are low, Jerry Parrish says, but he adds that passing a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour could hurt the very people it’s meant to help.
Florida's population will grow about 900 people a day in 2020, according to a forecast from Jerry Parrish, the chief economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation, the research arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. That's been the norm for net population growth in recent years, but it would be up from 2019, when the rate fell by more than 25 percent  to about 640 people a day. Here, Mani Schafer, left, and Scott Stephen unload their moving truck after moving from New Mexico to the former St. Andrews Russian Orthodox Church, which they bought, in Childs Park in St. Petersburg in 2011. DIRK SHADD   |  Times (2011)
Florida's population will grow about 900 people a day in 2020, according to a forecast from Jerry Parrish, the chief economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation, the research arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. That's been the norm for net population growth in recent years, but it would be up from 2019, when the rate fell by more than 25 percent to about 640 people a day. Here, Mani Schafer, left, and Scott Stephen unload their moving truck after moving from New Mexico to the former St. Andrews Russian Orthodox Church, which they bought, in Childs Park in St. Petersburg in 2011. DIRK SHADD | Times (2011)
Published Jan. 9
Updated Jan. 9

Florida’s chances of a recession in 2020 have dropped, and the state is in a position to add 200,000 jobs in the coming year, a statewide business group researcher said Thursday.

“I expect Florida to continue to create jobs at a higher rate than the U.S.,” said Jerry Parrish, the chief economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation, the research arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

That’s been going on since 2012, he said, and “one of the reasons for this is that Florida’s been growing manufacturing jobs nearly three times faster than the U.S. as a whole.”

Last year, Florida saw fewer new residents — a net increase of about 640 a day — but Parrish said he expects the pace of population growth to return to the 900 new residents a day that have been the norm in recent years.

As recently as September, Parrish estimated that the chances of a recession had risen to a high of 38.1 percent, based on factors such as housing starts, unemployment claims, commercial airport activity, open jobs and consumer confidence as measured by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Floridians’ confidence in the economy ticked up in December

Now he sees the chances of a recession in the next nine months at 21.2 percent, largely because consumer confidence remains strong and the relationship between short- and long-term interest rates in the bond market no longer reflects investor uncertainly about the economy.

An ominous warning from the bond market

Parrish detailed what he sees as three principal threats to Florida’s $1 trillion economy. One was the short-term business uncertainty created by disruptions to international trade.

“Not knowing what tariff rate that goods will be subject to makes it difficult for Florida businesses to plan, and it causes businesses to hold off investing,” he said. “This is causing a reduction in our international trade as well. Nobody wins a trade war.”

Jerry Parrish, chief economist of the Florida Chamber Foundation (Courtesy of Florida Chamber of Commerce) [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Jerry Parrish]

In the long term, Parrish said a “big threat” would be to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. If at least 60 percent of Florida voters approve Amendment 2 on Nov. 3, Florida’s minimum wage would rise from the current $8.56 an hour to $10 an hour on Sept. 30, 2021. After that, it would go up by $1 an hour every year until it reached $15 an hour on Sept. 30, 2026.

Saint Leo poll finds support for raising Florida’s minimum wage

If that happens, Parrish predicted some workers would be cut from full- to part-time employment and lose benefits, jobs would be lost and “some businesses will definitely close.”

“Increases in minimum wage sound like a good idea to many people, but what happens in a lot of cases is that it ultimately hurts the very people its supporters claim it will help,” he said.

Thursday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Times reached out to Orlando personal injury attorney John Morgan, who led the petition drive to get the question on the ballot, and the Service Employees International Union chapter 32BJ in Miami, which estimates that 200,000 Florida workers earn no more than the current minimum wage and millions more make less than $15. Neither responded to a request for comment.

Parrish said another long-term threat was the proposal to eliminate Visit Florida, which he said would hurt the state’s marketing and competition for wealthier tourists, in particular international visitors who stay longer and spend more. And that could cost the state jobs and significant revenue, he said.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Erica Allums poses for a portrait behind the counter at Banyan Cafe in St. Petersburg while she was still the owner. Now, she's in the process of taking over the MLK spot once again. [Times (2018)] [Tampa Bay Times]
    The Central Avenue location will continue to operate as normal.
  2. A for sale sign is seen in front of a home in the Westchase area of Tampa. CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2013)
    And a spike in cash sales suggests investors were active in the market.
  3. Florida's unemployment rate hit a record low in December. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) [LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP]
    Nearly every major job sector posted gains from a year earlier.
  4. A proposed bill in the Legislature would set a statewide referendum on whether to amend Florida's constitution to add a year to the period when home buyers can transfer their accumulated benefits under the Save Our Homes cap on property assessments to a new home. Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty says going from two years to three would reduce the possibility that construction delays in a booming real estate market would prevent some buyers from meeting the deadline, costing them potentially thousands 
 of dollars in property tax savings. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times (2019)]
    The bill, the idea of Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, would give buyers another year to transfer their tax savings under Florida’s Save Our Homes assessment cap to a home they’ve...
  5. The Tampa Bay Times' headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    No customer information was compromised. The Times is removing the malicious code.
  6. Concentrix has told the state of Florida that it plans to lay off as many as 174 employees from one of the programs it has at the Interstate Corporate Center east of Tampa. This is the same call center hit with 245 layoffs announced in November. (Google street view photo) [Google Street View]
    In November, Concentrix, the California multinational company that runs the center, announced the layoffs of 245 employees.
  7. Loreen Spencer (left) and Sue Watts, the two newest members of HCI Group's board of directors. [HCI Group]
    “I just wish I had thought of this earlier,” the chairman and CEO said.
  8. Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans will become the headquarters for Medicare and pharmacy operations now that it has been acquired in a $17 billion cash and stock deal by Centene Corp., base in St. Louis. (Times files)
    New owner Centene said it “expects to maintain strong operations in Tampa,” which is anticipated to be the headquarters for its Medicare and pharmacy operations.
  9. A Publix chicken tender sub sandwich. Pub Subs are now easier to order through Instacart grocery deliveries. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
    New Instacart Meal program to make Pub Sub orders a breeze, according to the grocery delivery app.
  10. Johanna Santiago, 50, of Riverview, hopes to start selling her Joba Sofrito early this year. Santiago developed the product, a savory Puerto Rican cooking sauce, with help from the nonprofit Enterprising Latinas in Wimauma. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
    Selling food and crafts, three women are among the dozens who turned to the organization for training in 2019.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement