’Twas the forecast before Christmas, when all through the state

People were still in deep shock from their homeowners’ rates.

Not as many homebuyers were stirring, not even a mouse;

Four hundred grand just to buy a gingerbread house?!

Mortgage applicants filled out their paperwork with fear,

The 30-year fixed rate was three percent just last year!

High prices and insurance premiums made monthly payments grow,

As did Florida transplants seeking taxes so low.

I in my bed with a tear-stained Terrible Towel,

In my head no sugar-plum visions, just old Jerome Powell.

Inflation is slowing, but not at a brisk pace.

The Fed is the tortoise in a price stability race.

Then in front of my house, I heard a loud clatter.

Sleep interrupted again, at least it wasn’t my bladder.

I peeked out the window hoping to see Santa — no luck,

No sleigh, not one reindeer, just an Amazon truck.

The labor market shortage is taking its toll,

I hear there’s now self-checkout aisles at the North Pole.

Not enough workers have caused wages to rise,

Must be good for employees you’d be wrong to surmise.

Yes, paychecks the past two years are increasingly large,

But for ends to meet, households need to make a credit card charge.

One-point-one trillion-plus in credit card debt is dampening holiday cheer,

The federal government to consumers: “Please hold my beer.”

Trillions in deficit spending without any debating,

Have led two agencies to cut the U.S. credit rating.

The U.S. economy is now starting to slow,

Inflation-battered, debt-ridden consumers are forced to forgo.

In Florida the economy isn’t immune,

But during this economic slowdown we’ll hum a new tune.

The past two recessions wreaked havoc and pain,

No broken bones this go ’round, just more of a sprain.

Most of our ailments are because we are growing.

Into our state a river of people keeps flowing.

And to the NCAA, Santa, bring lots of coal,

Naughty isn’t the word for what was done to the ‘Noles.

Our beloved Knights are now in the Big Twelve,

Albeit with an athletic budget no bigger than elves.

Over time we can hope that budget will grow.

In the meantime, it’s Gasparilla — that’s eight bowl games in a row!

So, here’s to the New Year and hope for the best,

Health and happiness from Destin down to Key West.

You can read Snaith’s full Florida economic forecast at iec.uec.edu.