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Economic Bright Spots

February 15th, 2010 by flanews

With unemployment expected to reach 12 percent and lawmakers considering layoffs to help fill a three billion dollar budget hole, there seems to be little to cheer about. But as Whitney Ray tells us, economists have found a few bright spots in Floridas economy.

More than a million Floridians are looking for work. Thousands of people are losing their homes and credit lines are drying up.

But Florida TaxWatch and the National Federation of Independent Business say better times are around the corner.

The cost of living that was once above average in the nation, now with all the pain and suffering and the serious recession has actually brought cost down so Florida is more attractive, said Dominic Calabro, the CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

Florida is expected to be one of the last states to recover from the recession, but economists say recovery in other states will boost tourism and home sales.

Another bright spot is that Holiday sales helped eat up excess inventory and now stores are starting to restock.

The increased demand for retail means more business for truck drivers, gas stations and warehouse workers.

It may not be as high as it was in 2006, when we were at the peak of consumer spending, but it certainly will be better than it has been for the last couple of years, said Rick McAllister, President of the Florida Retail Federation.

But demand could rise even more as other economies get on the right track and start to demand Florida goods. Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink says banks need to start lending to help businesses prepare.

The number one problem I hear about from small business is access to credit, being able to borrow more money to expand their business and higher more Floridians, said Sink.

Although there are a few bright spots, the road to recovery is still a long one and it will likely take years for the states unemployment rate to reach pre-recession levels.

Housing sales could become the driving force of the economic recover. Prices fell 13 percent in 2009, making the state more attractive to retirees and people looking for a vacation home.

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