The total value of goods and services produced in Florida is expected to increase by more than 2.5 times the current value, reaching more than $4.6 trillion by 2049, according to Sean Snaith, national economist and director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Forecasting. Bolstered by a projected 21.5 percent increase in the state population, the Institute’s latest Florida & Metro Economic Forecast anticipates significant growth over the next 30 years.

While Snaith admits it is difficult to predict a future that is 30 years away, his forecast serves individuals working in transportation planning, education, development, government or similar industries who must make decisions based on what the Florida economy may look like decades from now.

“We allow the forecasts to converge to trends driven by the fundamentals of economic growth,” Snaith says. “The projections will likely vary from the actual path the economy will follow over the next three decades.”

In the report, Snaith predicts:

  • Florida’s population will grow by an estimated 5.2 million residents to more than 26 million people by 2049.
  • Retail sales will more than double, surpassing 1.25 trillion over the next 30 years.
  • Florida’s labor force will grow by an average of 1.5 percent, but the state’s unemployment rate will rise to 3.8 percent by 2022.
  • The employment sectors that will see the biggest job expansion over the next four years are construction, professional and business services, and financial.
  • Housing starts will accelerate year over year, while house price appreciation will decelerate as supply catches up with demand.

In the short-term, the forecast predicts average economic growth will maintain a 3.1 percent annual increase through 2022 with tax cuts and faster wage/salary growth fueling the expansion. The state’s economy is simply holding steady after changes in federal policy sparked significant improvement in Florida’s economy dating back to 2017, Snaith says.

“Florida is poised for another two years of growth before slowing down in 2021 and 2022,” Snaith says. “This is still faster than the average of our forecasted growth for the U.S. economy over the same timeframe.”

Florida’s job market also remains ahead of the national labor market, and while Snaith expects Florida to keep the advantage, the forecast calls for a shrinking lead as the overall economic recovery continues to age. Job growth is expected to decelerate to 2.2 percent in 2019, 1.9 percent in 2020, 1.4 percent in 2021 and 1 percent in 2022.

As Florida creates more jobs, workers will likely bring home more money, according to the forecast. Personal income growth will average 3.1 percent through 2022, starting with 3 percent growth in 2019, rising to 3.6 percent in 2020 and slowing to 3.3 percent in 2021 and 2.6 percent in 2022. Boosted by the rise in household wealth and bigger paychecks, retail sales are projected to grow at an average pace of more than 3.95 percent through 2022.

“Overall, we are forecasting strong economic development in Florida over the next several years as well as continued growth in jobs,” Snaith says. “The improved prospect of finding a job will continue to put more Floridians back on the hunt for employment and also attract out-of-state job seekers.

The Institute for Economic Forecasting strives to provide complete, accurate and timely national, state and regional forecasts and economic analyses.

Snaith is a national expert in economics, forecasting, market sizing and economic analysis who authors quarterly reports about the state of the economy. Bloomberg News has named Snaith as one of the country’s most accurate forecasters for his predictions about the Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rate, the Federal Funds rate.