BEBR in the news
As go moving trucks, so goes Florida's economy.
Florida's population surged during the real estate boom when job-hunters and retirees moved into the state. That growth fed on itself as newcomers generated demand for construction, retail and other services.
Then the housing market collapsed. Florida's growth hit a jarring speed bump.
Now, the pendulum is swinging again in Florida's favor as the economy stabilizes. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that from July 2010 to July 2011 about 177,000 more people moved into the state than left it.
But Duval County lagged. The Census estimated Duval actually was a net loser in terms of where people went — about 40 more people moved out of Duval County than came here.
Just in time for people's vacations, analysts say gas prices in Florida will continue to fall this summer.
The unexpected drop is resulting from a global drop in demand for gas, particularly in debt-ridden Europe, said Chris McCarty, director of the University of Florida Survey Research Center and its Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
"This is the second year in a row where we have experienced an unusual pattern: rising prices through the spring with a drop during the summer," McCarty said. "Usually the reverse is true with gas prices peaking sometime in July."
"The odd behavior of gas prices is further evidence about how unsettled the economy is both nationally and globally," he added.
The number of Floridians on food stamps continues to hit record numbers -- with South Florida having an increase of more than 1.5 percent in May, said a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children & Families that oversees the federal food program.
The total number of Floridians on food stamps was up 1.2 percent in May to 3.4 million, a relatively small increase compared to the big jumps during the Great Recession, said DCF press secretary Erin Gillespie.But, she said, "we had thought it might go down."
Florida has been among the few states where underemployment involved one out of five workers who were either out of work or looking to pick up more hours to earn more money, according to Gallup Daily Tracking done earlier this year.
"We need growth in the job sector," said Patrice Schroeder of 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast. Some jobless are applying for food stamps because they’ve exhausted their savings.
Others find low-paying or part-time work and still need food stamps to help feed their families, added Chris McCarty, director of the University of Florida’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer confidence among Floridians rose three points to 77 in May, reversing a three-month decline, according to a monthly University of Florida survey. The latest figure is nine points higher than it was a year ago.
“This is a welcome turnaround in consumer confidence,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “The rise in confidence in May was particularly strong among those under age 60 and those with household incomes above $30,000.”
Three of the five index components used in the study showed rising confidence. For example, the overall expectations among respondents that their personal finances will improve in the coming year jumped eight points to 87 from last month. Confidence in the U.S. economy in the coming year went up one point to 74, while trust in economic conditions over the next five years rose five points to 81.
Perceptions of whether now is a good time to purchase big-ticket items such as houses, automobiles and refrigerators remained unchanged at 80. Only one component showed a decline: Respondents’ assessment of their current financial situations compared with a year ago fell one point to 62.
The sudden rise in consumer confidence is strange given “the potential ‘fiscal cliff’ due at the beginning of 2013 that is now being reported in the news,” McCarty said. Several pressing economic issues, unless acted upon by Congress and the president, could dampen the current optimism, he said. Expiring Bush tax cuts will result in higher taxes for most households. In addition, mandated automatic cuts in domestic and military spending and yet another battle over raising the debt ceiling could shake consumer confidence as early as next year.
“These events are only now making their way into the news and are probably not factored into the growth in optimism among respondents,” McCarty said.
More than anywhere in Florida, you are more likely to see an 85-year-old face in Sarasota County than one belonging to an infant or toddler.
New Census data shows Sarasota and Charlotte counties are No. 1 and No. 2 in the state for their percentage of residents 85 or older.
By a wide margin, that age group also is the fastest-growing in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. The population group now makes up more than 5 percent of Sarasota County's population for the first time. It outnumbers children under five by nearly 5,000 — the biggest gap in the state.
In all but five Florida counties, the under-five age group outnumbers the older group. But statewide, the 85-and-older group was the fastest-growing from 2010 to 2011.
The data may reflect a re-establishment of the retiree pipeline to Southwest Florida, which was interrupted by the downturns in the economy and real estate.
The 2010 Census came when the state's population was flat and some older population groups were shrinking, said Stefan Rayer, a research demographer at the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
But some economists view the population growth in the 2011 Census estimates as an indication that retirees are again moving to Florida in large numbers.
The number of serious violent and property crimes -- or at least the ones tracked by state and federal law enforcement -- dropped slightly in Alachua County from 2010 to 2011, while the Gainesville Police Department's load of such cases dropped by more than 9 percent, according to data released this week.
Overall, the crime rate in Florida last year was the lowest in 41 years, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced as it released the annual Uniform Crime Report, showing that violent crime had dropped by nearly 4 percent.
The total number of so-called index crimes -- murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft -- declined in Florida by 0.1 percent and in Alachua County by almost 2.4 percent.
However, based on the Alachua County population count used in the UCR, the report showed that the crime rate went up 0.9 percent in the county.
The UCR used figures that showed Alachua County's population dropped by 3 percent from 2010 to 2011, though the 2010 number likely was an estimate issued before the census was conducted that year, said Scott Cody, a demographer with the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, which provides the population data for the report.
In the fall of 2007, as home prices in Florida began slipping and population growth braked drastically from what had been a 1,000-person-a-day clip, Wall Street Journal reporter Conor Dougherty wrote an article headlined "Is Florida Over?"
The story cataloged a host of challenges to Florida's traditional model of growth that depended on cheap homes, retirees and tourists. Dougherty described a new Florida of expensive houses, costly insurance and congested roads — one growing less attractive to retirees, whom other neighboring states were eagerly courting. Time magazine chimed in with a piece musing on whether Florida had become the "Sunset State."
The stories created an instant public relations migraine for many economic development professionals in the state who worried how the portrayal of Florida would affect recruitment efforts and growth. "We had quite a number of Wall Street Journal articles that really painted storm clouds over Florida," says Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "And if you're a site selection company who's looking at relocating to Florida, you're reading all the same articles we are."
Economists pointed out that despite the state's troubles during the recession, it hadn't lost all its allure. "I wouldn't agree that Florida is over in any sense of population growth," says University of Florida economics professor Stan Smith. "It's still growing, just not as rapidly."
(BLACK PR WIRE) – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides information of an 18 percent split of financial income in America, from the study of Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 to 2007, published October 2011.
Florida residents are unaware of the increasing gap of the financial inequality that affects the income of nearly 60 percent of households in America.
In 2007, household income was at a 5.4 percent decline for Whites, 7.5 percent decline for Asians, 7.2 percent decline for Hispanics, and 10 percent decline for African-Americans. In 2010, household incomes had declined for all races by 7.1 percent, but African-Americans experienced the largest financial decline among all other races, according to Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States--2010, issued September 2011.
In 2009, the national poverty rate was 14.3 percent and in 2010, the poverty rate increased to 15.3 percent, which equals about 46.2 million American citizens whose household financial income was below the national median household income, according to the United States Census Bureau, Poverty: 2009 and 2010, issued October 2011.
The average household income for all races was $49,445 in America. The average household income for Asians was $64,308, Whites were $54,620, Hispanics were $37, 759 and African-Americans were $32,068, according to the graph entitled Race and Hispanic Origin: 1967 to 2010, issued September 2011.
In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that the highest income was located in the Northeast region of the country with an average household income of about $53,283, followed by household income in the West of $53,142, the Midwest of $48,445, and in the South median household income was $45.492.
From 2007, the Midwest household incomes declined by 8.4 percent, in the West 6.7 percent and in the South 6.3 percent, while in the Northeast there was not a significant change of household incomes, according to Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010.
Stefan Rayer, a research demographer at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, said that the poverty rate in Florida is often higher than the national poverty rate, but lower than other states in the South.
A radio host recently asked Gov. Rick Scott for an update on his trademark 7-7-7 plan -- creating 700,000 jobs in seven years in seven steps. (We're tracking that promise on the Scott-O-Meter.)
Scott said Florida’s economy is getting better in a lot of ways.
"We’re doing well. We’re at a three-year low on our unemployment in this state... We generated around 100,000 net jobs so far, if you look at the federal numbers," he said in the April 18, 2012, interview with Orlando-based station WDBO. "But if you look at the state numbers, about 230,000 people that were on unemployment when I took office are not on unemployment now.
"When you look around the state, tourism is up, the home market’s up, home sales are up, home prices are up. … So good things are happening, but we still have 900,000 people out of work," he said.
What stuck out to us is his claim that 230,000 fewer people receive unemployment benefits than when he took office 15 months ago. That sounds like a drastic decrease, which Scott is taking credit for and in turn using as evidence that the state’s economy is improving.
A spokeswoman with the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity, the agency that manages the unemployment compensation program, responded to our request about Scott’s claim. Spokeswoman Nancy Blum said the number of people receiving unemployment compensation dropped from 561,736 on Jan. 31, 2011, to 345,052 on March 31, 2012. That’s a total decline of 216,684.
That’s pretty close to "about 230,000," which is the number Scott offered. . . .
. . . Some experts also pointed to the contracting size of the labor force, which helps to lower the unemployment rate but also indicates some people are no longer looking for work. About 15,000 people left the labor force from February, according to the state’s March 2012 labor report.
The 15,000-person drop in the labor force was part of the reason why the unemployment rate fall from 9.4 percent in February to 9 percent in March.
"Some of those are people whose benefits ran out and are now not looking for work," said Chris McCarty, director of the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. "Some of those are retirees who have left the labor force permanently."
Gov. Scott says 230,000 fewer people receive unemployment compensation since he took office - Tampa Bay Times • Miami Herald PoltiFact Check Florida - April 27, 2012
A growing number of couples are acquiring living room furniture rather than wedding rings, as the traditional household headed by married spouses continues its retreat.
In Broward County, the number of unmarried couples living together rose by 24 percent in the past decade, from 41,638 to 51,644, new Census numbers show. They make up 7.5 percent of all households.
Meanwhile, the percentage of Broward households headed by married couples continued its decline, dropping from 46.1 percent in 2000 to 42.8 percent in 2010.
The changes across the United States are even more dramatic, according to the Census Bureau study released Wednesday. The number of households headed by unmarried partners rose 41.5 percent and now make up 6.6 percent of all households.
And for the first time in at least 70 years, U.S. households headed by married couples sank into the minority, from 51.7 percent in 2000 to 48.4 percent.
The trend toward smaller households shows up in changes as trivial as an increased demand for single-serving meals to as far-reaching as the design of our cities and suburbs.
"It means the traditional view of the typical American being married and having a couple of kids is less and less true," said Stan Smith, director of the Population Program in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. "It was based on an unusual period that peaked in the 1950s, the Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver view of what people should be like. But if you go back to the 1800s, you didn't have that. To me it means we need to rethink what family values really means and should we define them so narrowly to be the Father Knows Best–type family."
Census: Broward has fewer marrieds, more living together - Sun-Sentinel - April 26, 2012
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Census: Palm Beach County has fewer marrieds, more living together - Sun-Sentinel - April 26, 2012