The Orlando economy was left with little to hold onto once the recession swept away its major pillars—an inflow of tourist dollars, population in-migration and residential development. The housing market was left in tatters. As the national recovery makes its fitful progress, Orlando’s does as well.
Job growth in the Orlando Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has increased in the recent term. According to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), non-farm employment as of July was up 1.0% (10,200 jobs) over the 12-month span ending with July. Growth over the preceding 12 months was 0.9% (9,200 jobs). The gap between current and pre-recession employment levels, meanwhile, remains wide. Non-farm employment per the latest July remained down fully 6.0% (64,500 jobs) from July 2007.
The recent positive turn in the local economy has been led by the huge Leisure and Hospitality sector. Indeed, employment in this segment accounts for fully 21.2% of total metro area non-farm employment—and 23.7% of total private non-farm employment. Employment in this segment as of July was up 4.1% (8,400 jobs) from 12 months prior and was up fully 8.2% (16,300 jobs) over 24 months. Weakness in the large Professional and Business Services segment, meanwhile, remains an impediment to fuller recovery. Employment therein as of July was down 0.3% (500 jobs) over 12 months and was down 1.0% (1,600 jobs) over 24. And the ravaged Construction sector continues to shrink, albeit at a slower pace. Employment in this sector per the latest July was less than half the total recorded as of July 2007.
Recent reporting, meanwhile, cites improvement in the local housing market. “Metro Orlando’s homebuilding industry is on an upswing—and that’s expected to help Florida lead the nation in economic recovery,” the Orlando Business Journal reported in August citing local residential research firm Charles Wayne Consulting Inc. New sales increased 41.0% in the second quarter year-over-year to 872 closed transactions, while the average new home selling price grew by 6.9% to $252,400. In addition, this source reports 1,218 new home construction starts during the quarter, nearly double a year prior. According to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the 5,310 residential building permits issued during the first seven months of the year were up 48.3% from the total recorded for the comparable span of 2011. Of that sum, 3,928 were for single-family detached units, up 49.1%. Foreclosures, meanwhile, remain a topic of concern. According to RealtyTrac as reported by the Journal, Orlando ranked 15th among more than 200 U.S. metro areas surveyed in rate of foreclosure for July as 3,219 residences, one of every 293 in the MSA, received some kind of foreclosure notification.