Florida Chamber Forecasts 200K New Jobs in 2020



The Florida Chamber of Commerce predicts employees in the state will create 200,000 jobs in 2020, and that the state will see 320,000 new residents come during the year.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be a strong buy,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber.

But there remain challenges like a skills gap that means 284,000 job openings remain unfilled, as 323,000 Floridians actively look for work.

Jerry Parrish, chief economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation, released the organization’s newest economic forecast, which identified bright spots and challenges facing the business community in the state. 

On that latter front, the Chamber predicts significant turmoil if Florida voters pass a $15-per-hour minimum wage requirement, which progressive leaders have pushed to get on the 2020 ballot, or if the Legislature eliminates Visit Florida, which state House Speaker Jose Oliva has publicly stated would be a prudent fiscal decision.

Regarding a wage boost, Parrish noted no other state has put so high a pay requirement up for a statewide referendum before, and states passed referenda with lower rates still failed the meet the 60-percent threshold required to change Florida’s constitution through a ballot initiative. But the prospect phasing in such rapid growth in the minimum wage—Florida’s minimum wage rose to $8.49 and hour at the state of the year, will likely put small businesses under, Parrish said.

As for Visit Florida, he said killing the state’s de facto tourism agency would be folly. “Successful businesses market themselves,” he said, “and Florida has had much success marketing itself to businesses around the world.”

But overall, Florida business leaders remain confident Florida is on the track—and so do consumers by a 2-to-1 margin. Wilson praised Gov. Ron DeSantis for pushing a pro-business, anti-regulation agenda in Tallahassee.

The Chamber noted Florida, if it were a country, would have the 17th largest economy in the world, just ahead of Saudi Arabia. And current projects show Florida by 2030 could grow to be in the top 10 ahead of Russia, Mexico and Spain.

“Florida is at a crossroads,” Wilson said. “We just have to make the right long-term decisions.”

Chart courtesy Florida Chamber Foundation

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