While America experienced the Great Recession, Florida had the “Greater Recession” – an economic downturn that lasted longer and was more severe than the rest of the nation, University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith says.

But in his 2nd quarter economic forecast for Florida and its major metro areas, Snaith says the state is speeding away from that extended period of economic malaise and putting the Greater Recession in the rearview mirror.

“With every new jobs report and economic data release, Florida puts greater distance between its economy today and the economy that was crippled by recession, housing and financial crises,” said Snaith, director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

Real GDP contracted during the first quarter in the U.S., while Florida’s economy grew robustly and the rate of payroll job growth in the Sunshine State is well above the national rate.

Cash investors competing for a shrinking pool of foreclosures and short sales are bidding up single-family house prices in the distressed market. April 2015 year-over-year median sale price appreciation for foreclosures is 16 percent, according to Florida Realtors, and these investors’ expected returns are increasingly predicated on future price appreciation, a situation echoing Florida’s housing market pre-crisis.

“I guess some objects in that rearview mirror are closer than they appear, but at least these purchases aren’t being made with liar or NINJA loans,” said Snaith, referring to the reckless mortgage-lending practice that led into the housing market crash and financial crisis.

Snaith’s forecast this quarter offers his annual long run predictions through 2044 for Florida and 12 of its metropolitan regions. Those areas are Daytona Beach-Deltona-Ormond Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Naples-Marco Island, Ocala, Orlando-Kissimmee, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, Tallahassee and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.

Highlights include:

  • During the next four years, it is predicted that Florida’s economy will expand at an average annual rate of 3.1 percent.
  • Labor-force growth in Florida will average 2 percent from 2015-2018. The faster pace of payroll job creation has invigorated Florida’s labor market. The improved prospect of finding a job is putting more Floridians back on the job hunt.
  • Housing starts flattened out during 2013 and 2014 at a little over 80,000 in both years. The pace of starts will increase going forward, but probably not fast enough to meet growing single family demand in the next several years.
  • The sectors expected to have the strongest average job growth during 2015-2018 are construction, professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality.
  • Retail sales, supported by the strength will grow at an average pace of over 4.4% during 2015-2018.
  • For the complete report click here.

    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.

    Snaith also is a member of multiple national forecasting panels, including The Wall Street Journal Economic Forecasting Survey, CNNMoney.com’s survey of leading economists, the Associated Press Economy Survey, the National Association of Business Economics Quarterly Outlook Survey Panel, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Survey of Professional Forecasters, the Livingston Survey, Bloomberg U.S. Economic Indicator Survey, Reuters U.S. Economy Survey, and USA Today Economic Survey Panel.

    The Institute for Economic Competitiveness strives to provide complete, accurate and timely national, state and regional forecasts and economic analyses. Through these analyses, the institute provides valuable resources to the public and private sectors for informed decision-making.