Residents of Florida, the Sunshine State, have been getting some sunshiny news stories! Here are five of them:
1. Tourism in Florida continues to surge
More than 54 million tourists visited Florida in the first half of 2015, according to Florida’s tourism agency Visit Florida. That’s the biggest number so far for a six-month period in Florida’s history.
For the second quarter this year, Canadians topped overseas visitors, with a total of 1.2 million. The total of other overseas visitors was 2.7 million. Domestic visitors reached 21.9 million.
2. Florida’s economy has been growing faster than the national average pace.
According to BMO Capital Markets, all of Florida’s economic indicators, namely employment, jobless rate, housing starts, home prices, consumer confidence, state finances, and population growth, point to an increasingly robust economy. Real gross domestic product is expected to grow this year by 3.2 percent, with retail and tourism-related industries continuously booming. Nonfarm payrolls have increased by 3.5% in the second quarter compared to the same quarter last year. In BMO’s ranking of state economic performance as of August 19 this year, Florida is No. 8 among the 50 states. It ranked 7th in business conditions, 9th in housing market conditions, 10th in labor market conditions, and 29th in state finances.
3. Florida’s jobless rate decreased in July 2015, both compared to June and to the same month in 2014.
Florida’s jobless rate fell to 5.4 percent in July 2015, as a total of 30,500 non-farm jobs were added in July. Out of a state labor force of 9.5 million, there were 517,000 who were jobless.
Year over year, the number of jobs added in July was 271,500, an increase of 3.5%.
4. Florida is one of the 10 Best States for small businesses.
Pacific Research Institute ranked Florida as having the 9th best regulatory climate for small businesses. Florida was cited for its family leave mandates and its being a right-to-work state. It also ranked 16th for least burdensome state unemployment insurance cost and other regulations for small businesses.
The number of Florida’s new businesses increased by 12.6%, much bigger than the national average growth of only 2.9%.
5. Florida housing market rises over the year
The median sale price of Florida homes moved up 8.1 percent over the year to $199,900 in July this year, one of the three highest median sales prices since the end of the recession ended. Sales volume also increased over the year to 26,916 closed sales, a big increase of nearly 22 percent from the same month last year.