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Herald's 'Economic Time Machine' shows So Fla's economy set back to 2002

 South Florida weathered the fiercest economic storm since the Great Depression. But where did it land us? That’s the question raised by a new Miami Herald effort to track both the damage done by the recession, and the long road back to recovery. We call it the Economic Time Machine.

We took nearly 60 different monthly indicators — from revenue generated by Miami-Dade hotels to building permits for Broward apartments to sales at the Big Daddy’s Liquors chain — and tracked them back as far as the 1980s. Story by Doug Hanks and Kenny Malone here.

We adjusted for inflation and seasonality. We weighted each indicator by its impact on the economy, a calculation based both on market share data and interviews with economists, analysts and industry leaders.

Then we asked the Economic Time Machine a simple question: How does the current economy compare to the economy before the recession? That is, how far did South Florida get set back?

The Time Machine’s answer: all the way back to April 2002. The reading echoes a running theme in economic commentary that has the recession not only reversing economic growth, but also resetting the entire economy to a lower level or a “New Normal.’’