BEBR in the news

Smaller checks for government workers

State budget cuts will begin draining millions of dollars out of the local economy this month as government employees see their paychecks shrink.

The average government worker in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties will lose $1,151 annually as the state, for the first time since 1974, requires workers to help cover their own pension costs.

Republican state leaders decided to shift 3 percent of wages to cover pension costs as part of their plan to balance this year's budget and because they said government workers should be treated more like those in the private sector.

Recent surveys by the University of Florida Bureau of Economic Research indicate that Consumer Sentiment slid throughout the spring, a fact researcher Chris McCarty attributes in part to pessimism by state and local government workers facing pay cuts. They make up 7 percent of the state's workforce.

"We're not just talking about people in Tallahassee here. That 3 percent affects lots and lots of people at all levels across the state," McCarty noted.

Read story:

Smaller checks for government workers - Herald-Tribune - July 9, 2011

Orange expected to lead Florida growth

Emptiness is what people see today when they drive through the monogrammed iron gates of Lake Drawdy Reserve in east Orange County. There are paved cul-de-sacs, lakefront lots and fancy frosted-glass streetlights. But nobody lives there.

Thirty years from now, they will likely see 28 upscale homes occupied by young families, residents from abroad, refugees from coastal counties, in-migrants from other states and well-to-do retirees.

Orange County is expected to lead the state in growth for the next 30 years, adding nearly 670,000 residents by 2040, according to the latest projections from theUniversity of Florida.

The new projections are the first based on the 2010 census. They show Orange County outpacing Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties, while Osceola County is predicted to add more people than Broward County.

"The expectation is that eventually we will get out of this recession and things will return more to normal," said Stan Smith, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at theUniversity of Florida.

To Orange County, normal means about a third of its growth will come from the natural increase of more people being born than dying. Central Florida's population has always been relatively young compared with that of the state, where only 18 percent of population growth comes from births over deaths. Some of this is because of the area's tourism-based jobs, which attract young people, and its growing Hispanic population, which tends to have larger families, Smith said.

Read story:

Orange expected to lead Florida growth - Orlando Sentinel - July 10, 2011

Consumer Sentiment falls again amid likely worries about Social Security, Medicare

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer Sentiment among Floridians declined for the fourth time in five months — falling to 66 in June — as the U.S. economy continues to sputter, according to a new University of Florida survey.

“Floridians appear to be growing concerned about the short-run health of the U.S. economy,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “As the deadline to adjust the debt ceiling approaches, some Floridians, particularly seniors, may be anticipating cuts to Social Security and Medicare which will likely have to be part of any long-term deficit reduction solution. Others may have concerns about raising the debt ceiling.”

Four of the five index components the survey measures decreased. The largest decline was in perceptions of U.S. economic conditions over the next year, which fell seven points to 61. Perceptions of personal financial situation expected a year from now fell one point to 74, perceptions of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years fell one point to 72 and confidence in purchasing big-ticket items such as cars and appliances dropped four points to 70. The only component to increase was perceptions of personal financial situation now compared to a year ago, which rose one point, to 53.

The declines among senior citizens surveyed were significant with possible cuts to Social Security and Medicare looming. Confidence among those aged 60 and over fell by an average of 7.25 points in four index components. Confidence in purchasing big-ticket items fell 11 points to 68, perceptions of U.S. economic conditions over the next year fell eight points to 55, perceptions of personal financial situation expected a year from now fell six points to 59 and perceptions of personal finances now compared to a year ago dropped four points to 45.

Read story:

Consumer Sentiment falls again amid likely worries about Social Security, Medicare - University of Florida News - June 28, 2011

More on this topic:

Floridians’ Consumer Sentiment declines in June - South Florida Business Journal - June 28, 2011

Florida remains glum about economy - Miami Herald - June 28, 2011

Consumer Sentiment dips: What's up with the economy? - Sun Sentinal - June 28, 2011

Home prices, Consumer Sentiment fall - St. Petersburg Times - June 28, 2011

Florida's Consumer Sentiment dips for fourth time in five months - Ocala.com - June 28, 2011

Consumer Sentiment slips in South Florida, where home values aren’t rising as in other metro areas - Palm Beach Post - June 29, 2011

 

UF study sees million-plus in Lee

More than 1 million people are projected to be living in Lee County within 25 years, according to a study released Monday by the University of Florida.

That revelation comes even though the statistics show that the state’s population growth has slowed to its lowest level in more than 60 years.

Still, said Stan Smith, director of the university’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, “there still will be pretty substantial growth.”

The University of Florida projection sets Lee’s population at 1,016,900 in 2035, a 75 percent increase over the 618,754 counted in last year’s census. And in the next three decades, Lee is predicted to be No. 4 in total population gain (467,846), behind only Orange, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties.

“This is basically an extrapolation of previous trends,” Smith said. He said he and his UF team use an historical base over a 15-year period to arrive at their predictions as well as birth rates, death rates and in-state migration, among other criteria.

Read story:

UF study sees million-plus in Lee - News-Press - June 13, 2011

UF: Florida population soars in century’s first decade, but rate is slowing

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida was again one of the country’s leaders in population growth in the last decade, but the growth rates over the past few years have been among the lowest in the state’s history, according to a new study by the University of Florida.

Florida’s permanent resident population increased by more than 2.8 million between 2000 and 2010 — an increase of 17.6 percent to 18,801,310. That mark was the third-largest numeric increase and the eighth-largest percentage increase in the country. However, the growth rate lagged behind previous periods for the state, and projections are the growth rate will steadily decline through 2040.

“Growth rates varied considerably during the decade, not only from county to county but also from year to year,” said Stan Smith, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration.

“Fueled by an expanding economy and a booming housing market, population increases from 2003 to 2006 were among the largest in Florida’s history,” he said. “As economic growth slowed and the housing market cooled later in the decade, population growth declined as well, reaching its lowest levels in more than 60 years.”

In the decades from 1970 to 2010, Florida saw annual population increases that averaged between 280,000 and 320,000. The projected annual growth is 252,000 for 2010 to 2020 and 255,000 for 2020 to 2030. The projection drops considerably for 2030 to 2040 with an annual growth of 220,000.

Smith said the slow economic recovery and a dismal job market have hampered population growth.

“Jobs are a major reason people come to Florida,” Smith said. “But Florida lost about 1 million jobs from 2007 to 2010. As the economy recovers, population growth will increase as well.”

Read story:

UF: Florida population soars in century’s first decade, but rate is slowing - UF News - June 13, 2011

Special Note:

"Projections of Florida Population by County, 2010-2040," Florida Population Studies, Volume 44, Bulletin 159, June 2011 produced by the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research is now available for order in the Population section of BEBR Products at http://www.bebr.ufl.edu/bebr-products/series/Florida%20County%20Population%20Projections.

More on this topic:

Florida's growth at its lowest in 60 years, UF study finds - Gainesville Sun - June 13, 2011

Population growth slows in Florida, UF says - Herald-Tribune - June 13, 2011

UF study: Florida growth to continue lagging - Westport News - June 13, 2011

Economic Troubles Put Brakes on Florida's Population Growth - WMFE 90.7 FM - June 13, 2011

Florida Morning (Blog): Still Growing - Florida Times Union - June 14, 2011

Population will grow again in a few years, aiding economy, UF study says - Palm Beach Post - June 14, 2011

Florida population growth slows with economy, pick up coming - Sun-Sentinel.com - June 17, 2011

Raising the debt limit with Economist David Denslow

June 1, 2011 - President Barack Obama met with Republican leaders earlier today to discuss a potential increase in the U-S debt ceiling. This comes just one day after the House of Representatives defeated its own bill that would’ve allowed the nation to increase its borrowing ability. Republicans are offering no signs that today’s meeting with the president produced any real progress toward a deal. With an August deadline approaching, the government must decide whether it’ll increase its borrowing authority or go into default. Florida’s 89.1 WUFT-FM’s Joe Lancos spoke with University of Florida Economist, Dave Denslow, about why the country may eventually need to raise its debt ceiling.

Listen to the interview:

Raising the debt limit with Economist David Denslow - WUFT FM 89.1 - June 1, 2011

UF: Florida’s Consumer Sentiment stays level for first time in months

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer Sentiment among Floridians remained at 68 in May, ending three consecutive months of decline, according to a new University of Florida survey.

“While the overall Consumer Sentiment Index has declined steadily over the last several months and remained flat this month, there has been some uncharacteristic volatility in the individual components,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “Of particular interest are the changes in perceptions of personal finances. This month, there was a decline in perceptions of personal finances now compared to a year ago, while expectations of personal finances increased from a record low in the release last month. We attribute most of these changes to fallout from the Florida budget.”

Although April brought some positive signs of recovery, McCarty said the economic environment is still mixed. Unemployment dropped to 10.8 percent — the lowest in Florida since 2009 — but the rate is still one of the highest in the country. Median housing prices rose to $132,700, but McCarty said prices could decline as a backlog of foreclosures moves through the courts. Gas prices have declined the past two weeks, but should rise again with the summer travel season approaching.

“Looking ahead, Florida is once again at a crossroads,” McCarty said. “It is critical that he job situation in Florida continues to improve. Although there have been gains associated with a recovery in tourism, there are several thousand layoffs looming in the public sector and associated industries. These will likely show up in the unemployment rate for July or August. This will likely keep Consumer Sentiment at relatively low levels in the upper 60s.”

Read story:

UF: Florida’s Consumer Sentiment stays level for first time in months - University of Florida News - May 31, 2011

More on this topic:

Florida Consumer Sentiment flat in May - South Florida Business Journal - May 31, 2011

Fla. Consumer Sentiment holds steady; US index dips - Ocala.com - May 31, 2011

Florida Consumer Sentiment holds steady in May - Sun Sentinel - May 31, 2011

Consumers stay glum in Florida - Miami Herald - June 1, 2011

State Budget Sinks Florida Consumer Sentiment, UF Says - Sunshine State News - June 1, 2011

Low Consumer Sentiment level in Florida - WPTV.com News Channel 5, West Palm Beach - June 2, 2011

Nation's aging population booms

The 55- to 64-year-old population in some fast-growing suburban counties around cities such as Denver and Atlanta more than doubled from 2000 to 2010, according to 2010 Census data out today.

The surge in older residents is in three distinct clusters, according to demographic profiles released so far on 37 states and the District of Columbia:

•Boomer magnets. Americans who flocked to thriving areas for jobs and cheaper housing when they were in their 40s now are well into their 50s or even early 60s.

•Exodus of young people. Counties in the Midwest and New England are showing the largest increases in median age (half younger, half older). Many are in economically depressed areas that offer few job opportunities for the young, prompting them to leave after graduation and raise their kids elsewhere.

•Retirement spots. Counties in states that offer mild weather, recreation, natural beauty or a low cost of living have lured retirees and pushed up the median age.

Florida still has the highest share of people over 65 (17%), but the median age dropped in the state's Pasco and Hernando counties. "Those were both previously … substantially retirement counties," says Stanley Smith, of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. "It's a surprising decline due to a spillover effect. They've become suburban counties (of St. Petersburg)."

Read story:

Nation's aging population booms - USA Today - May 19, 2011

Legislature produced few direct jobs this session

TALLAHASSEE — When state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott talk about their priorities, creating jobs in Florida always ranks at the top. But by the end of the 2011 legislative session last week, state leaders could point to little in the mountain of bills passed that will provide immediate help for Florida's struggling economy.

Lawmakers passed sweeping reforms on issues ranging from health care to education and state pensions. They passed bills restricting abortion, promoting gun rights, rewriting election laws and reforming the state Supreme Court.

But when it came to creating jobs, state leaders cited vague concepts like government deregulation and tax incentives as top achievements, though economists say they will do almost nothing to get Floridians back to work over the next year.

And with nearly $4 billion in cuts to the state budget, many lawmakers say the net effect of the 2011 session on Florida's economy will be a negative one, at least initially.

Thousands of teachers, health workers and government employees at all levels will be laid off as the largest budget cut in state history takes affect.

*********************************

Haridopolos said the federal stimulus program “did not work,” but University of Florida economist David Denslow said infrastructure spending is one of the few proven short-term job creators at the state's disposal.

“It creates jobs in the short run and the long run because businesses benefit from the improved infrastructure,” he said.

On the other hand, deregulation and tax cuts — while potentially beneficial in the long run, if done properly — will have almost no short-term benefits, Denslow said.

“The reason people aren't starting new businesses is not so much a matter of regulation and red tape but because the demand, the customers, just aren't there,” Denslow said.

Read story:

Legislature produced few direct jobs this session - Gainesville Sun - May 8, 2011

New census numbers show Palm Beach County's 85-plus crowd grows 41%

Taking a break from his poolside card game at the Century Village retirement community near West Palm Beach, 87-year-old Lou Hazan tried to offer some insights into the modern octogenarian lifestyle while the other players razzed him. "Sometimes it's a little hard trying to find a woman that's about 20 years younger than me," said Hazan, a widower who moved to South Florida about 15 years ago. Born before talking movies or transatlantic flight or Herbert Hoover's presidency, Hazan and others in the 85-and-older crowd are one of the fastest growing segments of Palm Beach County's population, according to a new batch of 2010 Census data that breaks down Florida's population by age.

The new figures show Palm Beach County now has Florida's largest number of people who are 85 and older -- 49,205. Ten years ago those bragging rights belonged to Miami-Dade County. Although Palm Beach County's overall population grew 16.7 percent between 2000 and 2010, its 85-plus population grew 40.7 percent. Palm Beach County now has 99,849 people who are 80 and older - nearly the same number as the city of West Palm Beach has residents.

The number of older seniors has soared, but seniors as a whole are a declining portion of Palm Beach County's population. The number of county residents who are 65 and older grew 8.8 percent between 2000 and 2010, a slower rate of growth than the countywide average. Seniors are now 21.6 percent of the county population, down from 23.2 percent in 2000 and 24.3 percent in 1990.

Advances in medicine and overall health, meanwhile, mean that Palm Beach County and other places can expect to see growing numbers of the so-called "old elderly," said Stan Smith, director of University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

"It's the old elderly that are the fastest growing segment of the population," Smith said. "Certainly that has a lot of social and probably fiscal implications."

Read story:

New census numbers show Palm Beach County's 85-plus crowd grows 41% - Palm Beach Post - May 5, 2011