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BMO Economics: Housing Recovery and Job Growth Expected to Fuel Above-Average Florida Growth Into 2015

SARASOTA, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 08/14/14 --

  • Economic recovery continues with real GDP growth expected at 3.3 percent for 2015
  • Employment growth continues to outpace the national average
  • Housing market remains at the core of Florida recovery despite recent soft patch

Florida continues to march toward economic recovery, with real GDP expected to outperform with 2.8 percent growth this year and picking up to 3.3 percent in 2015, according to the bi-annual U.S. State Monitor Report by BMO Economics. Employment growth continues to outperform the national average, with nonfarm payrolls rising 3.1 percent year over year in Q2.

Construction employment is rising at a double-digit pace alongside the housing recovery; however, employment in the sector remains just over half of pre-recession highs. Real estate service employment has bounced back sharply as well. Outside of housing, leisure and hospitality industries are seeing solid growth and record employment levels.

"We're pleased to see improvements in the construction industry, since our economy is closely tied to its success," said Dave Maraman, Managing Director, Business Banking, Florida, BMO Harris Bank. "The labor force growing at a 2 percent year over year pace bodes well for job seekers, but also for businesses and our clients who are growing their workforce and driving the momentum we've been seeing."

The housing market remains at the core of Florida's recovery, despite a recent dip. According to the S&P Case-Shiller Index, prices in Miami and Tampa have jumped more than 10 percent in the past year, though growth is cooling from what was seen the prior two years. Stricter mortgage rules and higher mortgage rates through late-2013 have somewhat subdued the gains.

"Unfortunately, the foreclosure rate, which was down nearly 4 percentage points in the past year, is still among the highest in the country -- at 7.6 percent," noted Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "The recent soft patch has caused new homebuilding activity to level off, with housing starts totaling just over 80,000 units in the past year."

Better job growth nationally and improving consumer confidence should keep tourism healthy. There were 26.7 million visitors in Q1, up 2.7 percent year over year and the best first quarter since 2007.

To view the full report visit: www.bmocm.com/economics

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. and are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris® and BMO Harris Bank® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $582 billion in assets (as of April 30, 2014).

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