Florida TaxWatch cautiously optimistic about 2021

From Last Call newsblog
by Peter Schorsch
December 31, 2020

The state’s economic outlook may be shaky right now, but Florida TaxWatch says there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic.

“As we close out a tumultuous year for Florida, defined by COVID-19 and its resulting disruptions to everyday life, we consider what may lie ahead. Overall, Florida’s economy in 2021 will be uncertain, influenced largely by pandemic changes, but there is reason to believe next year will be a hopeful year of growth for a state on the road to economic recovery,” FTW President and CEO Dominic Calabro said.

“With several promising vaccines on the horizon and gradually improving labor market conditions, Florida looks poised to undergo the slow but steady process of economic rebuilding over the coming year.”

On Wednesday, FTW released a report predicting solid growth in state gross domestic product and the labor force alongside a decline in the unemployment rate, which it expects to hit 5.5% — down from a high of 13.8% amid early pandemic lockdowns.

The sectors expected to grow fastest are leisure and hospitality (11.9%), education and health services (8.1%), and financial activities (8.1%), the latter of which FTW said will be the fastest-growing economic sector in Florida between 2020-2023 due to those jobs being work-from-home friendly.

But the report, “2021 Economic Preview: An Uncertain Yet Hopeful Year of Growth,” warns that most of the hospitality industry’s growth will be making up for the jobs shed during the pandemic.

The report also predicts Floridians’ real personal income — how much income an individual makes from salaries, wages and transfer payments — will dip 3.2% next year, partly due to falling stimulus and unemployment payments for many families, which initially offset some of the recession’s impacts in 2020.

And on housing, FTW says the robust seller’s market will continue in 2021 with declining inventory and strong demand driving home prices to new highs.

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