- Florida Statistical Abstract Online
- Florida and the World
- Graham Center Collaboration
- Consumer Sentiment Index
- Population Studies
BEBR in the news
South Florida, which 40 years ago gave birth to senior citizen icons such as the early bird special and condo commando, is a retirement mecca no more, according to new Census statistics released Wednesday.
"As we have become a congested urban environment, we have become less attractive to retirees," said Dick Ogburn, an analyst with the South Florida Regional Planning Council.
The Sunshine State still has appeal, however, retaining the highest percentage of senior residents in the country, with 17.3 percent older than age 65 in 2010.
Fourteen Broward cities lost a total of 11,685 senior residents in the past decade, led by Hallandale Beach with a 24 percent decrease and Tamarac with 21 percent. Among cities with the largest senior populations in Palm Beach County, Boca Raton gained 19 percent in its 65-and-older residents, while Boynton Beach lost 7 percent and Delray Beach, 8 percent.
Ogburn has been predicting the shift for the past 20 years. In the previous decade, from 1990 to 2000, Palm Beach County's 65-plus population grew 25 percent while Broward's basically flatlined, with a 1.4 percent increase.
Ogburn suspects the two counties never will return to their retirement migration heydays of the 1950s through '70s, when thousands of transplants poured into newly built condo complexes each year. While nice weather and good medical care are important, retirees looking to relocate also seek affordable housing, light traffic and low crime, experts agree.
When that changes, they either stop arriving or move on to other communities that offer those amenities, said Scott Cody, demographer for the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Consumer Sentiment Index among Floridians remained at 65 in November, a ranking that matches a revised mark set in October and is only two points higher than the record low of 59 set in June 2008.
The index used by University of Florida researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150.
The November survey reveals a mixture of positive and negative perceptions.
“Consumers are slightly less optimistic about current conditions than they were last month and slightly more optimistic about long run conditions,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, which conducted the survey.
McCarty noted that of the five categories used to measure Consumer Sentiment, two decreased, two increased and one remained unchanged, resulting in an overall mark of 65. Perceptions, for example, that compare personal finance levels with those of a year ago fell two points to 52. However, expectations that personal finances will improve a year from now went up three points to 79.
Meanwhile, respondents’ overall view that the U.S. economy will improve over the coming year fell two points to 52. However, their expectation that the economy will improve over the next five years remained unchanged at 67.
Finally, the perception that now is a good time to buy big-ticket consumer items, such as televisions and laptop computers, rose four points to 75.
The unemployment rate in Florida has decreased slightly, but it is still higher than the national average, which according to the Department of Labor is 9 percent. Although Florida’s labor force increased by 14,000 from August to September, it is still down 26,000 from September of 2010. The state’s unemployment rate dropped a whopping one-tenth of 1 percent to 10.6 percent, after remaining fixed at 10.7 percent for three months. Individuals are considered unemployed after one no longer has an occupation, but is still looking for work. When people stop searching for work, for any reasons, they are no longer counted as ‘unemployed.’
Not only is Florida’s unemployment rate high, but Consumer Sentiment seems to be going down. Chris McCarty, a director of the University of Florida’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research said in a press release, “Consumer Sentiment continues to be in the doldrums, uncomfortably near record low levels here in Florida.” Unfortunately for Floridians, Consumer Sentiment seems unstable, despite reports of minor economic progress in certain sectors.
The Great Recession of 2008 is officially over, according to a panel of economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research, a widely accepted arbiter of business cycles. In fact, the recession reached its "trough" (end of the decline and the subsequent beginning of the rise) in June 2009.
History and economic patterns remind us that immediately following a trough, declining periods are categorized as expansion periods in which markets level, stabilize, prepare for growth, and no doubt, create opportunity.
What's our next move to restore favorable economic conditions in Southwest Florida? Growth. A back-to-basics approach that serves to shift the focus from a cynical viewpoint of near-term economic conditions, to a cyclical one.
Southwest Florida's high quality of life, good access to excellent health care, safe, low-crime neighborhoods, and high education standards will ensure our growth and prosperity for generations to come. If we all simply work on the basics, the market will take care of itself.
Given consistent draws to Southwest Florida such as climate, lifestyle, taxing platform and health-care accessibility, migration to our area and Florida as a whole remains strong.
Gary L. Jackson, director of the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University's Lutgert College of Business, states that, when it comes to Southwest Florida, "One of the key drivers of our economy has been population growth since it drives not only construction jobs, but new households require many other goods and services. The quality of life in Southwest Florida will continue to draw people to our area, creating economic growth and the accompanying job creation. Tourism, health care and higher education have been growth industries.
In fact, medium level population projections from the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research estimate rises in Florida's net migration of 166,000 per year between 2010 and 2015 with high-level projection estimates of 193,000 per year between 2010 and 2015 - growth levels that are not far below the state's net migration averages per year during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, when our area saw intense growth.
On a county level, research from BEBR shows a population forecast of 2.2 percent per year from 2010 to 2030 - creating substantial opportunity for our area to benefit from increases in our resident base.
College kids are making the city look bad.
According to statistics released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau, Gainesville's income gap was the fifth-largest in the nation from 2005 to 2009. Atlanta tops the list, followed by New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; and Miami. The city with the lowest income gap is West Jordan, Utah.
Eve Irwin, the research program services coordinator at UF's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said this ranking makes Gainesville's situation sound worse than it actually is. Gainesville's large student population and the city's rural surroundings present a stark contrast to the high-paying jobs drawn in by the university and local hospitals, she said.
The city of Gainesville had the fifth-widest income gap in the country from 2005-09, a United States Census Bureau American Community Survey report released this month says.
David Denslow, a research economist at the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research, attributed the high level of income inequality to two factors — a relatively small city with a large university and medical complex, and the poverty rate and lack of jobs in east Gainesville.
The University of Florida's contribution to the gap is not a cause for concern, but the depressed economic situation in east Gainesville is, Denslow said.
"The east Gainesville factor, we have been worrying about it forever and need to," he said.
UF factors into the income gap because Gainesville is a city of 115,146 with a university that has approximately 50,000 full-time students. Many of those students report little to no income while the university and the Shands medical complex have professors and doctors with some of the higher incomes in the city, Denslow said.
James Dewey, the BEBR program director for economic analysis, said adding a university the size of UF to what would otherwise be a predominantly rural area would always lead to high income inequality.
South Florida is behind only New York in having the widest gap between rich and poor, according to a new Census analysis of major U.S. metropolitan areas.
An influx of wealthy Latin Americans and construction workers thrown out of work by the housing bust led to the wide gap in household incomes in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, economists said.
The ranking is based on data measuring the range of household incomes from the Census' American Community Survey between 2005 and 2009.
South Florida's income gap widened in part because wealthy Brazilians and other Latin Americans are moving in, said Chris McCarty, director of the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
Brazilians especially have more cash, he said.
"Brazil has one of the healthier economies in the world," McCarty said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — After a modest gain in September, Consumer Sentiment among Floridians fell a point in October to 63, four points above the record low of 59 set in June 2008, according to a new University of Florida study.
The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966, so a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150.
“Consumer Sentiment continues to be in the doldrums, uncomfortably near record low levels here in Florida,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
That level of confidence may remain stuck for some time, McCarty said, because “there have been no consistent economic developments over the past couple of months to push confidence lower or raise it from its historically low levels.”
The report found that Consumer Sentiment remains shaky despite reports of slight economic improvement in some sectors. Florida’s unemployment rate, for instance, dropped one-tenth of 1 percent to 10.6 percent, after remaining fixed at 10.7 percent for three months, far better than the record high level of 12.5 percent reached in March 2010.
“One thing to keep an eye on is the size of the labor force,” McCarty said. “Unemployment is the percent of those unemployed but looking for work. When people stop looking, for a variety of reasons, they are not counted. Although Florida’s labor force increased by 14,000 from August to September, it is still down 26,000 from September of 2010.”
Something’s rotten in the state of-er Florida.
A public hearing is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday on plans by the Florida Department of Transportation to raise tolls at all state toll roads and bridges, including Florida’s Turnpike, about 11.7 percent by next June 30.
Under the plan, the cost of a car ride on Florida’s Turnpike from West Palm Beach to Miami’s Golden Glades Interchange, for example, would rise to $4.60 from $3.80. SunPass holders pay $1 less. Reason cited for the toll hike: Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
The plan — hitting already financially strapped Floridians — comes after social security recipients finally get a 3.6 percent raise after three years. But that increase, effective in January, is a significantly smaller percentage than the proposed Florida toll increase — despite the fact that it, too, measures the CPI.
Why this huge discrepancy? Is the CPI, as some have argued, subject to manipulation?
Christopher McCarty, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, doubts it.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics is fairly impartial and immune from political intervention,” McCarty says.
The most quoted monthly CPI index —CPI-U — measures changes in prices of all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households. It includes user fees, such as water and sewer service, and sales and excise taxes paid. Excluded: Income taxes and investments, like stocks, bonds and life insurance.
Florida DOT and the Social Security Administration use different versions of the CPI. Florida DOT measures the CPI-U, or annual average of all expenditure items for all urban consumers, U.S. city average.”
By contrast, the social security cost of living adjustment is measured by the rise in the CPI-W, a subset of CPI-U that gives greater weight to urban wage earners and clerical workers.
Nearly four years after the start of a devastating recession, South Florida’s recovery barely musters a passing grade.
The hiring landscape can boast of only anemic job growth, but unemployment remains near record highs. Real estate prices are bumping along a bottom. Spending hasn’t kept pace with price increases. Only South Florida’s tourism and cargo industries can boast sustained growth.
“The biggest problem is that this recovery has been much slower than in previous times,’’ said Mason Jackson, head of Broward’s workforce agency. “I lay it on the door of uncertainty. How is this going to work out?”
In December, it will be 48 months since the start of the worst economic downturn Florida has faced in at least a generation and probably since the Great Depression. Just as the recession was more severe than past ones, the recovery that officially began in June 2009 has unfolded at a surprisingly slow pace.
The lack of construction jobs helps explains the recovery’s low marks, said Chris McCarty, survey director at the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Past recessions saw construction slow, followed by a sharp rebound in new housing projects and renovations as confidence returned.
“If it was a normal recovery, construction would have already done its job of lifting us out of it,’’ he said. “This one is different. Population growth has been slower to come back.”