FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—Economic activity in South Florida is expected to show a slight increase over the next six months, and most economic sectors are anticipating some job growth, a regional business group reported today.
While the majority of the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce agreed with a continuation of current trends, it also cautioned that rising gasoline prices, shrinking margins and continued concern over resolution of Federal health care reform pose risks.
“Virtually every sector reported impressive first quarter results continuing into the third quarter with residential real estate, manufacturing, tourism, financial services, and bio medical all posting solid results,” Richard G. Clark, CEO and president of Clark Leadership Consulting and chairman of the CEA, said. “Businesses remain cautiously optimistic about future economic growth, but are increasingly concerned with the uncertainty of upcoming public policy issues, especially as they relate to health care and energy,” he added.
The CEA noted the encouraging sales in the real estate industry and the growth of foreign investment in the local marketplace. The group noted a sharp increase over the current period compared with the same period last year.
Recent hikes in fuel prices have caused some businesses to add fuel surcharges in order to keep pricing competitive. With summer tourism season approaching the CEA shared concern that we are at the price point where consumers and businesses begin to change behavior.
“We are watching petroleum prices very closely right now,” said Dan Lindblade, president of the Chamber. “We feel they are artificially high and would not be surprised if they started to drop just in time for summer vacation season.”
The appointed 25-member CEA discussed a variety of economic conditions at its quarterly meeting to provide critical review of different sectors of the South Florida economy—employment, construction, hospitality, tourism, trade, manufacturing, health, financial services, to name just eight.