Florida’s economy hit a new milestone when the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) topped $1 trillion, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s chief economist announced Monday.
Florida Trend says Floridians should look at the news in perspective: If Florida were a nation, it would be the 17th largest economy in the world and would be larger than nations such as Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Argentina.
Earlier this year, Jerry Parrish, Ph.D. Florida Chamber Foundation chief economist, forecast that Florida would reach the new $1 trillion economy in 2018. He was right. Now, says Parrish, Florida is adding $2.74 billion each day to the state’s GDP.
“Becoming a $1 trillion economy means Florida is continuing to grow and create jobs, keeping unemployment lower than the national average, and creating economic opportunity,” said Parrish. “Thanks to the focus of Florida’s business community and strong leadership from the governor, Cabinet and Legislature, Florida continues to move in the right direction.”
Gov. Rick Scott admitted he was proud of the accomplishment. “This is an historic moment for Florida, reaching a record $1 trillion in GDP. By working every day to create private-sector jobs, we’ve been able to increase Florida’s GDP by more than $270 billion — 37 percent — since 2010.
“When I came into office, I made it very clear that we would get our economy back on track. Within seven-and-a-half years, private-sector businesses have created more than 1.5 million jobs and Florida’s unemployment is at a low 3.8 percent. Florida’s growing economy is producing real results for families across our state …”
According to TheFloridaScorecard.org, Florida has created 180,200 jobs over the past year, and has steadily kept unemployment rates below the national average. At the same time, achievement gaps are closing in Florida’s Pre-K-12 system, Florida continues to break visitation records, and our state is continuing to diversify its economy.
While this growth is positive news, challenges and opportunities for Florida still remain.
According to a Florida Chamber of Commerce press release issued Monday, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 research initiative (being released this year) shows the gaps Florida must close in order to continue to be globally competitive and grow smarter by 2030 and beyond.
“Consider that while achievement gaps are closing, 43 percent of 3rd graders aren’t reading at or above grade level. And while 1 in 14 jobs in the nation are created in Florida, our state’s 14.8 percent poverty rate includes 21.3 percent of children under age 18. While Florida is better than most states in these areas, the Florida Chamber will continue to lead reforms that create economic opportunity,” the press release states.
“Florida 2030 allows communities to see how they are impacted by challenges and opportunities and create their own blueprints for how to move forward,” said Tony Carvajal, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber Foundation. “This growth in our economy is good news and reminds us of the positive impact that business, community, philanthropic and elected leaders can have on Florida when we work together toward a common goal of securing Florida’s future.”
Last month Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Florida’s General Obligation (GO) bond rating to Aaa.
That’s the leading international credit rating agency telling Florida it earned the highest rating possible — for the first time in the state’s history.
It is a clear indicator of the strength of Florida’s economy and will save taxpayers money in future state interest payments.
“I am so proud of Florida’s amazing turnaround story over the past seven years,” Scott said after the Moody’s announcement.