Jobs, wages rising as recession falls farther behind

Jobs, wages rising as recession falls farther behind

By Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel


The Great Recession is now far in the rearview mirror, especially for Florida, which is driving toward an annual expansion rate of 3.1 percent, University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith says in a second-quarter economic forecast released Tuesday.

“With every new jobs report and economic data release, Florida puts greater distance between its economy today and the economy that was crippled by recession, housing and financial crises,” said Snaith, director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

He said Florida’s economic downturn lasted longer and was more severe than most states’.

But now, labor-force growth in the state is expected to average 2 percent through 2018, Snaith said. The faster pace of payroll job creation has invigorated Florida’s labor market, with the improved prospect of finding a job resulting in more residents back on the job hunt.

The sectors expected to have the strongest average job growth during the next three years are construction, professional and business services; trade, transportation and utilities, which includes retail; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality.

In the Miami-Fort-Lauderdale-Pompano-Beach metro region, Snaith expects mixed levels of growth.

Average annual wage growth is expected to be 3.2 percent by mid-2016, up from 2.2 percent a year ago, he said. The average annual wage is expected to increase to $55,900, the second-highest among the major metro areas in the state.

Employment is expected to grow at 2 percent while unemployment is expected to be moderate with an average rate of 5.3 percent, Snaith said.

Construction is forecast to be the fastest-growing sector, with an increase of 8.4 percent annually, Snaith said. That will be followed by the professional and business sector, growing at 3.9 percent each year.