Released at the beginning of every month, the Orlando Economic Update dives into the most recent labor market and economic data to provide context and analysis on the changing market conditions within Central Florida.
Summer 2020 has seen the release of some fairly dismal pieces of economic data. Second Quarter Gross Domestic Product growth numbers were released for the United States, recording the largest contraction in modern American history. New, weekly claims for unemployment insurance were more than one million in the country for the twentieth straight week. And Orlando continues to rank as one of the top metros most impacted since the beginning of the recession in February.
It’s not difficult to find negative news about the state of the economy. However, this August economic update digs deeper into Orlando’s leading market indicators to highlight some silver linings that may otherwise be lost to the news cycle.
The unemployment rate for both the country and the region continues to drop from the record-breaking highs in April and May. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also minimized the potential for error in data recording, given the new challenges to collecting survey data during volatile economic times.
The chart below highlights the unemployment rate for both the U.S. and Orlando with the most recent month of data. The dashed grey line indicates what the BLS reported the true unemployment rate could be due to previous misclassifications of absent workers during survey collection. That gap has lessened, and the USA unemployment rate has continued to drop for three straight months. The Orlando region has a high unemployment rate, which falls in line with previous economic swings the region has experienced, during which the unemployment rate is lower than the national average during good economic times and initially higher during more volatile conditions.
New claims for unemployment insurance hit a new pandemic low this week, dropping below 1 million claims nationally for the first time in 20 weeks. Both the U.S. and Florida have continued to see drops in new claims for unemployment insurance since mid-July. This is a welcome trend after claims had appeared to stall at consistently high levels through much of June. There has been some speculation that the decreased number of people filing may be due to the expiration of the $600 in additional unemployment benefits at the federal level, not because fewer numbers of people are losing their jobs. However, coupled with decreasing unemployment rates, we will take this decrease as a positive sign. In the week ending August 8, Florida recorded some of the largest drops in new claims for unemployment insurance.
The number of active job postings in the Orlando region increased 33 percent from August 1 to August 8, mainly driven by large increases in the healthcare industry. While tracking job posts from week to week is a more volatile measure of economic recovery, it does provide a sense of what industries are actively looking to make hires within the region.
Retail sales associates, registered nurses and sales representatives are the three occupations in Orlando with the most current job demand. The employers with the most active job posts in Orlando continue to be AdventHealth, Lockheed Martin and Orlando Regional Healthcare.
Overall, these trends signal small improvements to the economic situation being experienced across the country and in Orlando. Economists’ previous hopes for a V-shaped or U-shaped recovery, where the economy falters and bounces back in rapid succession, are waning with each passing month. However, there is still the possibility for an aggressive, L-shaped recovery. Of course, the region’s economic recovery is tied very closely to overall consumer confidence and business risk assessments based on public health outcomes.
Download the Orlando MSA Market Overview for an in-depth analysis of the region’s leading economic indicators that measure the progress of Orlando’s economic recovery.