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Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Fourth Quarter Spark Plugs

Our local economic indicators are a mixed bag—tourism is holding us together, real estate continues its schizophrenic ride, and jobs remain the x-factor.

With over 100,000 in Broward County collecting unemployment and countless more whom we know are out of work but not looking, repeat after me—JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.  Everyone must be focused on job creation and retention.

Broward County, our 31 cities and the School Board are major employers but they are feeling the pinch of budget shortfalls thanks to declining real estate values.  I have talked to literally hundreds of people about the employment situation.  Most of the time I see a blank stare.

If it weren’t for the stability of tourism, we would be in the toilet.  Occupancy is up while tax revenues were slightly off.  Bed tax revenues generated almost $17.5 million through May this year compared to $18 million during the same period in 2009 for a 4 percent decrease, while occupancy was up every month between 2-5 percent through June.

Passenger traffic was up four percent through July 2010 over the same period last year at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.  There were 13.34 million passengers for the first seven months this year compared to 12.8 million last year.

Which brings me to real estate.  I’ve always said that once real estate comes back online we will be on the road to recovery.  Not only will jobs follow, but the residual effect on our economy will be profound.  All areas of real estate are hurting—construction, residential resales, condos, and commercial.  Look for this sector to stabilize in the fourth quarter.

Bottom line is we are missing a few spark plugs.  Job growth and real estate must come back online in order for the pain to ebb. 

It Is My Pleasure,

Dan Lindblade, CAE

Posted by: Dan Lindblade, CAE @ 2:43:35 pm 
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