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This is not your father's Florida: Why things are different this recession

Remember the recessions of 1992 and 2001, or those of the 1970s and '80s? One thing always buoyed Florida faster and farther out of its economic troubles: population growth and the industries that came with it, real estate and construction.

Governors and legislators could always rely on population growth to create jobs, avoid tax increases and shield the state from recession. The population surge of 2 to 3 percent a year --enough to add a city the size of Miami or Tampa each year  -- justified Florida's claim as a growth state.

Not this time. Florida population growth from in-migration has slowed to a trickle and it's raising new doubts about the wisdom of betting our future on growth. With the mortgage crisis, credit crunch and flat-lining of population, the twin industries that buffered Florida through two previous recessions -- real estate and construction -- are weighing down Florida's economy, complicating a recovery and making it likely that Florida will be among the last to bounce back.

''This recession is not only going to be bad for us. It's going to be worse than the nation's,'' said David Denslow, a University of Florida economist. The primary reason: Florida's residential construction boom grew at twice its normal rate and ``we got overbuilt.''

Read the story from the newly merged bureaus of the Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times here.