PANAMA CITY — A Florida economic forecast released earlier this month predicts holiday spending will increase this year, but that the economic recovery will continue to be slow.
The Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida produced an economic forecast for the state for the years 2010 to 2013.
In the short term retail sales will grow in 2010 and 2011, which are expected to expand an average of 4.5 percent. Sales and discounts are also expected to continue.
In an open letter written to the governor, Sean Snaith, director of the Institute, wrote that the “economy in Florida has soured, and you have inherited a fiscal and economic calamity.”
The director, who was named by Bloomberg News as one of the nation’s most accurate forecasters, pointed to an anemic private job sector and Florida’s unemployment numbers of more than 10 percent with more than a million residents searching for jobs.
“Private sector job growth is far too slow to quickly recoup the 800,000 jobs slashed from Florida’s payrolls,” Snaith wrote. “I do not anticipate that payrolls will get back to their pre-recession peak until the 4th quarter of 2015.”
The labor market will continue to be a “disfiguring scar” on Florida’s economy, states the report.
The director also wrote about job security and that no Floridian can expect to work for one company their entire career until retirement. The key to job security requires workers to be lifelong learners to hone and upgrade their skills throughout the career, according to the report.
One recommendation it gives was for the state to give tax incentives to employers who fund their employees’ ongoing education.
Sectors that are expected to show job growth include manufacturing, health and education and professional and business services. The economic forecast does not predict job growth in the construction sector until the 2nd quarter of 2012.
The forecast is published quarterly and is based on assumptions reflecting the Institute’s judgment.