Florida’s $815 Billion GDP Faces Major Threat

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Florida has the fourth largest economy among all states, as measured by state gross domestic product. Much of this GDP is threatened by Hurricane Irma, which could undermine business and financial activity across the state. But in a few weeks, its economy could get a boost as the construction industry’s activity surges and new car sales flourish.

Here are some evaluations of the 24/7 Wall St. studies of Florida’s economy:

On June 27, in “The States With the Best and Worst Economies,” the section on Florida:

> 2016 GDP: $815.07 billion (4th largest)
> 5 yr. GDP annual growth rate: 2.4% (8th largest growth)
> Unemployment: 4.3% (21st highest)
> 5 yr. annual employment growth: 2.9% (2nd fastest growth)

Jobs are arguably the most critical component of any economy, and employment growth is one of the clearest indications that an economy is performing well. The compound annual job growth rate in Florida, the nation’s fourth largest state economy, was 2.9% over the five years through 2016. This was the fastest employment growth rate of any state other than Utah.

In 24/7 Wall St.’s “The Best (and Worst) States for Business,” Florida ranked the 22nd best:

 > 1-yr. real GDP change: 4.0% (3rd highest)
> Avg. salary: $47,686 (25th highest)
> Adults w/ bachelor’s degree: 28.4% (23rd lowest)
> Patents issued: 4,054 (10th highest)
> Working-age population chg. 2010-2020: +13.6% (6th highest)

Florida has a reputation for being a destination for retirees, but the state also has a growing population of younger residents, which will likely benefit state businesses looking for workers. The working-age population in the state is projected to grow by 13.6% between 2010 and 2020, nearly three times the national growth rate. According to the Census’ Annual survey of Entrepreneurs, Florida also has a highly favorable tax structure for startups.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs in the same study were among the most likely in the country to report difficulty accessing financial capital.

Based to some extent on its high poverty rate and relatively low number of people with health insurance, Florida ranked a poor 30th among “America’s Best States to Live In”

> 10-yr. population growth: 16.6% (12th highest)
> Oct. unemployment rate: 4.8% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.7% (16th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years (19th highest)

Florida is one of the largest and fastest growing states in the country. Now home to 20.3 million people, the state’s population has surged by 16.6% in the last decade, faster than the population growth of 11.5% nationwide. Though it may be a popular destination for national migration, Florida lags behind the nation as a whole in several important measures.

For many state residents, a healthy lifestyle is likely out of reach. Nearly 16% of Floridians live at or below the poverty line, and 13.3% of people in the state lack health insurance, each among the higher shares of any state.

Its place in all of these evaluations will change after Irma has come and gone.