September 24, 2017

Special Report

Northwest Fla.: How Bad Is It?

Charlotte Crane | 11/1/2008

U.S.Army tank
[Photo: U.S. Army]

“The defense business is well-funded because of increased demands for modern equipment to support military operations. We have 370 employees now, up from 300 a year ago and expect to have 400 by year-end — average pay, $35,000. We make the electronics for armored vehicles, to keep our soldiers out of harm’s way. We’re impacted by the economic downturn, however,

Rob Cowan
Rob Cowan
in that company professionals such as engineers and managers can’t relocate here from elsewhere because they can’t sell their homes; so we have to hire people locally who aren’t skilled in our own process systems and train them. That takes time.”

Rob Cowan, human resources manager, General Dynamics Land Systems, Tallahassee

How Bad Is It?Economy
Most Indicators Are Down

“Single-family home sales in August compared to a year ago were down between 22% and 45% in the region’s four metro markets. Except for the Fort Walton Beach area, August declines were greater than year-to-date decreases, suggesting we still have some distance to go before we exit the slump.

Rick Harper
Rick Harper
Taxable retail sales for the region’s four metro areas in June averaged 5.6% below June 2007 versus 7.6% for the state. In employment, both Tallahassee and Fort Walton Beach metro areas have lost 2,200 jobs between August 2007 and August 2008; Panama City area has lost 1,700; and Pensacola, 1,800. Department of Defense spending, including personnel and procurement, accounts for 35% of economic activity in northwest Florida, somewhat insulating the region from pressures facing the rest
of the state.”

Rick Harper, director, Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, University of West Florida, Pensacola

Existing-Home Sales
Metro Area August Sales 1-Yr. Chg. August Median $ 1-Yr. Chg.
Fort Walton Beach 223 +2% $203,900 -10%
Panama City 96 -29 192,300 -3
Pensacola 288 -31 154,400 -8
Tallahassee 156 -42 186,700 -10
Source: Florida Association of Realtors

Tags: Northwest

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