Fla. economist: ‘We’re in recovery’

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. – Economist Hank Fishkind told about 400 Manatee County leaders that Florida’s recovery is in its early stages even if it doesn’t seem like it to some people.

Calling it the “worst recession, probably, since the Great Depression, and at least the worst since 1975,” Fishkind said, “This is the recovery – right now,” Fishkind said. “The momentum is growing.”

Fishkind spoke at an “Economic Forecast Breakfast” sponsored by Whitney Bank and the Manatee Economic Development Council. As evidence of the ongoing recovery, Fishkind pointed to recent improvements, including:

• Job growth in the tourism and convention industries

• Job growth in education

• Strong retails sales at the close of 2010

• Consumer belief that it’s safe to spend money

• $500 billion boost from a 2 percent cut in payroll taxes

Fishkind also expects retirees to return to Florida’s warm shores, but “there is a discernible lag between recovery and population growth,” Fishkind said. “It takes time for people to realize there is a recovery.”

For a true turnaround, however – the kind that everyone sees and appreciates – Fishkind says the state must wait until 2012.

Source: Michael Pollick, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Jan. 20, 2011