Up Front - The Publisher's Column
State of the State
Andy Corty, Publisher
For the 44th consecutive year, Florida Trend presents its annual Economic Yearbook, a special issue highlighting the economic condition of each of the state's 67 counties. Executives around the state often use the yearbook as the basis for speeches. [Economic Yearbook]
The report, in brief, shows that Florida is on the mend ... slowly. But the healing is not balanced. In general, housing is strengthening, and banks are performing better, although some are weighed down by bad real estate loans and tighter regulations. Hiring has picked up, but executives I talk with are still skittish, leading to cautious growth plans.
Healthcare is showing healthy signs. In this issue, you will read about the University of South Florida's new Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in downtown Tampa, growth in Orlando's "Medical City," Florida Atlantic University's new medical school and expanded medical manufacturing in Fort Lauderdale. And Moffitt Cancer Center is planning an expansion as well.
Tourism also has bounced back in a huge way after the BP oil spill. Visit Florida reports 85.9 million visitors to Florida in 2011, a surprisingly strong growth of 4.4%. Hotels and restaurants are again crowded.
Education remains a major economic driver. International trade is hot, with southeast Florida seeing the greatest gains. Airports are continuing to prepare for growth, with a runway expansion in Fort Lauderdale. And our population is on the upswing again — Florida gained about 200,000 residents last year and now tops 19.1 million, with more growth on the horizon for 2012.
You'll also want to take a look at our special report on Florida's housing markets with snapshots of what $200,000, $500,000 and $1 million will buy around the state.
And what about the state of Florida Trend itself? While general-interest magazines are sailing into headwinds, those of us lucky enough to be in special-interest niches are faring quite well. Just-released figures show that Florida Trend's print circulation grew 6.5% last year, a remarkable testament to executives' faith in Trend to provide relevant news and insight.
But print is just part of our business. More than 42,000 readers have signed up for our free Daily Pulse e-newsletter, which provides a quick wrap-up of the most important business stories each workday. Please join them by signing up at FloridaTrend.com/Daily.
Our website, FloridaTrend.com, already attracts more than 70,000 unique viewers each month. We're giving it a complete makeover this summer, with enhanced functionality and less-cluttered graphics for simpler access to key information. Trend also has a Facebook page with 2,000 "likes." And we have an iPad app in the planning stages.
All this is made possible by a loyal cadre of advertisers who wish to reach our 250,000 readers, Florida's leaders in business, government and civic affairs. In addition to business-to-business clients such as banks, law firms, insurance companies, resorts and such, we have a growing contingent of organizations who wish to "tell their story" through our pages, taking advantage of multipage discounts. Florida Trend is the ideal place for advocacy messages and in-depth, explanatory advertising.
Thanks to each of you for your continued loyalty and readership.
Fitness update: My two long walks and four gym sessions were certainly fewer than planned, but I did drop another 4 pounds for a total of 10 pounds y-t-d, so that should make the doctor happy.
— Andy Corty