Last spring, the U.S. economy reached a milestone – employment surpassed the pre-recession peak beginning in January of 2008, the deepest recession our country has experienced since WWII. Florida was one of the hardest hit areas of the recession, brought down by a domino effect starting with the burst of the housing bubble that led to the damage of the construction market, and the fall of the tourist industry. Despite its setbacks, Florida has surged back and is predicted to be among the leading states for job creation in the near future, with six of the top ten metro areas forecasted for employment growth.
Florida’s expected job growth comes largely from its significant retiree population. In fact, Naples is forecasted to have the largest job growth with 4.6% through 2017. Retirees fuel jobs in industries like construction, retail, and healthcare. Naples also boasts the third highest rate of net migration in the U.S. over the past five years and the third lowest crime rate in the country.
Other Florida metros that rank among the areas with the best job forecasts because of retirees include Cape Coral, Ocala, Port St. Lucie, and North Port.
Although not dependent on a booming retiree population, Orlando is also in the top 10 areas for predicted job growth. With the return of the tourist industry, Orlando thrives off its visitors who come for Universal and Disney. More than 60 million people visited the Orlando area last year, the most for any city in U.S. history. Moody’s Analytics predicts that employment growth will average 4.2% a year through 2017, but economist Kwame Donaldson cautions against this prediction because the strong U.S. dollar will deter travelers from Asia and Europe.