May 30, 2023

2008 Economic Yearbook --A Time to Diversify

Florida map of regions

Click a region on the map for stories and statistics about that area of Florida.

Florida business leaders face
a tough economy — will the R-word
be "Recession" or "Revenue"?

Residential real estate has always been an 800-pound gorilla in Florida’s economy, and the housing slump is taking up a lot of space in the room these days. Real estate-related state budget shortfalls and Amendment 1 constraints created by voters are forcing government leaders to focus on belt-tightening and fiscal discipline. Business leaders, meanwhile, no longer can surf on the tsunami of economic spinoffs generated by the real estate boom.

But Florida’s economy is more sophisticated than it was during previous land frenzies. While some kind of recession now seems likely, the broader economy won't likely hit the depths being plumbed by the housing market. Even areas like Southeast Florida, where real estate carries so much weight, are benefiting from increasingly diversified local economies. Healthcare, biotech and international banking will grow in that region this year, analysts say, while tourism should remain strong thanks to the weak dollar.

Central Florida leaders, for their part, are playing both to the area’s traditional tourism base and newer, big-bucks strengths like biotech, defense, simulation and photonics. Rural counties throughout the state are focusing more than ever on growing quality jobs. Elsewhere, business leaders are concentrating on infrastructure issues, business retention, business recruitment and workforce training. The economy may not be hot this year in Florida, but the pilot light hasn’t gone out, either — the R-word at most businesses is still "Revenue" rather than "Recession."

Florida map of regions
2008 Economic Yearbook Map:
Click for interactive Flash map showing Florida's most current county information and projected population growth in the coming years.

Sources for income, population and age charts in the 2008 Economic Yearbook section:
Woods & Poole Economics Inc., Washington, D.C. Copyright 2007. Woods & Poole does not guarantee the accuracy of this data. The use of this data and the conclusions drawn from it are solely the responsibility of Florida Trend. Population data include military stationed in Florida, college residents and inmates. jobs data measure full- and part-time jobs and proprietors and include farmworkers. Property income includes rent, dividend and interest payments. Transfer income includes Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance. Unemployment data are from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.

Northwest region Big Bend region of Florida Northeast region of Florida North Central region of Florida North Central region of Florida Space Coast region of Florida Central region of Florida Tampa Bay region of Florida Southwest region of Florida Treasure Coast region of Florida Southeast region of Florida

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