Florida’s unemployment rate probably won’t change much between now and the end of the year, and the jobs picture is set to remain bleak through 2016, a team of state economists said Monday.
With a troubled real estate market and trouble brewing in Europe, the state economy faces a prolonged uphill climb, according to the Economic Estimating Conference, a group of state labor experts.
The group’s long-term predictions about the economy have potential repercussions for the both the presidential election in November and the 2014 race for governor.
As President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney vie for Florida’s 29 electoral votes, they will likely be doing so at a time when the state’s employment numbers remain stagnant. When Gov. Rick Scott runs for reelection in 2014, Florida will likely be suffering from high joblessness, with a rate near 8 percent.
Even if job creation accelerates in the coming months, that might not translate into declining unemployment right away, since the current rate has been skewed by large numbers of people leaving the labor market in recent months, the economists said.
“At some point, when the economy starts getting better, you’re going to see those folks coming back into the labor force, and begin actively looking for a job again,” said Amy Baker, head of the state Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research. “You could see that put a little upward pressure at least to flatten out, a little bit, the unemployment rate.”