Commercial Connection: SW Florida must pull together on the basics
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.