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Sarasota-Manatee region economy looks strong, says USF professor

The labor market looks good and inflation is going down, says Michael Snipes.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. January 6, 2023
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1. The economic outlook for the Sarasota-Manatee region for 2023 looks strong.

The labor market in particular appears to have recovered, statistically at least, from the past two years.  Both the size of the labor force and the unemployment rate has held steady for the past several months.  Of particular note is the dramatic drop in unemployment in the manufacturing and tourism and hospitality sectors, both down around 10 percentage points. Taken together, the labor market looks strong for 2023.


2. Overall inflation is also trending downward for the area, much of which is due to the price of food and energy stabilizing. The region is also projected to have a higher future job growth rate than the rest of the country by around 11 percentage points. With the population increasing over last year, a trend which has held for the past several years, the area should continue to see new influxes of income, which should help businesses to attain stable levels of income and profit.


3. While the supply side is trending in a positive direction, the news for consumers is less optimistic, though certainly not reason for panic. On average, the Sarasota-Manatee area pays less than the national average, and while the price for food, fuel, and other necessities may be stabilizing, the price of housing, largely driven by the influx of income from new residents, is still high for most people. It remains to be seen which effect will be greater: lower-than-average wages and high housing costs, or a stabilization in the price of other necessities and prices overall.

Taken as a whole, the economic outlook for the Sarasota-Manatee region looks bright, and most businesses should expect a successful 2023.


Note: All data used comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the Census


Michael Snipes is an associate professor of instruction of economics at USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, with a joint appointment in the Muma College of Business. Prior to his arrival, Snipes taught at Eastern New Mexico University for several years. His current area of research interest is tourism and its effects on the economy.


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