© 2024 Central Florida Public Media. All Rights Reserved.
90.7 FM Orlando • 89.5 FM Ocala
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UCF Economist Urges Investment In Infrastructure And Education

Florida Housing Starts. Graph- Courtesy of UCF Institute for Economic Competitiveness
Graph showing the rate of new house building in Florida

Florida’s economy is finally hitting its stride, according to the latest economic forecast from the University of Central Florida.

Sean Snaith, who directs UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, says the state can expect strong job growth over the next 3 years in construction, trade, transportation and utilities.

And he has this advice for whoever wins the Gubernatorial election on Tuesday: invest in infrastructure and education.

“Make sure the ports and the nexus of transportation at those ports are ready to reap the benefits of an expanded Panama Canal," says Snaith.

"Put more money back into education, because I think ultimately a dynamic and educated labor force is probably the most powerful pheromone there is in terms of attracting business to Florida.”

Snaith says Florida’s economy was “terrible” during Crist’s term - he took office in 2007, right before the country plunged into recession- but it has been steadily improving while Scott has been Governor.

But he says governors actually have a limited impact on the state's economy.

Snaith says politicians get too much blame- and credit- for the economic health of the state.

“This forecast wasn’t trying to absolve governors of any culpability for what happens in the economy," says Snaith, "but merely recognize things like the financial crisis and what’s happened in the stock market, for example, both the severe crash that we saw and the subsequent record bull run that we’ve been on, really were driven by factors outside of Tallahassee.”

Snaith says state policy does have some impact, but the governor doesn’t have enough power to counteract the effects of a national recession or dictate the measures implemented by the Reserve Bank.

Meanwhile Both Crist and Scott have spent the last few days criss-crossing the state urging voters to the polls.

Monday night Rick Scott campaigned in Orlando with fellow Republican governors, Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

On the other side of the city Crist and former President Bill Clinton took the stage at UCF to address supporters.