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Baker: Florida unemployment heading to 12 percent

Yikes. Amy Baker, the head of the Legislature's economic forecasting shop, said she expects Florida's unemployment rate could tick up from 11.5 percent to 12 percent or more when the labor department releases its figures this Friday.

"I'm not optimistic," she told the Senate's budget committee.

Baker's dose of downer-ness followed a presentation from David Denslow of the University of Florida who predicted that job loss next year will be worse than it was in 09 and 10.

Baker noted that the big freeze of last week, which damaged crops in 67 of 67 counties, will exert "downward pressure" on the state's gross domestic product. And Haitian refugees could bring more pressure on public schools where English as a second language courses could be strained.

Baker also busted out with spooky term: Black Swans, incidents of high impact with a low probability of happening. She gave three:

1) significant commercial real estate defaults

2) a hurricane season like 2004 or 2005, considering the Budget Stabilization Fund is a meagre $274m

3) If the stock market is over-valued and then "corrects itself"