Forecast: Florida's economic recovery will lag rest of nation

BRADENTON, Fla. — Florida's economy is still far from recovery, according to a new state forecast.

The Florida Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research projects unemployment won't improve until the fourth quarter of 2010.

The research office released a new forecast this month to revise projections after the state's unemployment level surpassed previous expectations released in a March forecast.

Previously, the state's unemployment rate was expected to peak at 10.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010 before declining.

Florida reached a 10.2 percent jobless rate in May, and increased to 10.3 percent in June.

According to the new forecast, Florida's unemployment will hit 11 percent in the second quarter of 2010 before declining in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The new projection is well above the national unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, and well below Manatee County's 11.8 percent unemployment rate.

"Florida's economy is going to lag the recovery at the national level," said Stan Geberer, an associate at Fishkind & Associates, an economic and financial consulting firm based in Orlando.

The Federal Reserve projects unemployment will be 10 percent or higher by the end of this year before sign of improvement.

"At the national level, there seems to be an emerging consensus that we're sort of near the bottom, and by the end of the year the national economy may see some growth," Geberer said. "But because we're very dependent on growth and growth related to components such as home building, unemployment could continue to rise in Florida through the middle part of 2010."