Florida Is the Big Winner as the Wealthy Move Out of Northern States

Florida Wins the Wealthy Relocation

Roughly 5 million Americans move from one state to another annually and some states are clearly making out better than others.

Florida and South Carolina enjoyed the top economic gains, while Connecticut, New York and New Jersey faced some of the biggest financial drains, according to a Bloomberg analysis of state-to-state moves based on data from the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Connecticut lost the equivalent of 1.6% of its annual adjusted gross income, as the people who moved out of the Constitution State had an average income of $122,000, which was 26% higher than those migrating in. Moreover, “leavers” outnumbered “stayers” by a five-to-four margin.

Florida Big Winner

Bloomberg’s analysis included all 50 states and the nation’s capital to provide a fuller picture of aggregate income flows from migration. About 10% of the population moves annually, or about 35 million people, according to the Census Bureau. Most moves are within the same county.

Florida posted a net income influx of nearly 3% of the state’s adjusted gross income in 2016. South Carolina, Idaho and Oregon were also among the largest gainers in the interstate shuffle.

Bloomberg’s tally also included analysis by absolute net gain and loss of income.

New York’s annual net loss was the highest, with a net $8.4 billion leaving the state. Exiting incomes of $19.1 billion were replaced by people who brought in $10.7 billion less in income. Illinois and New Jersey were next with net outflows of $4.8 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively.

Those three states also had three of the four highest proportions of outbound versus inbound residents last year, according to the United Van Lines, the largest U.S. household goods mover.

Florida nets $17.2 billion from inbound moves vs outbound

Florida Wins Wealthy Relocation

Florida was the top financial magnet, reeling in $17.2 billion more than it lost, about seven times the amounts netted by each of the runner-ups Texas, Washington and South Carolina. The Sunshine State was the No. 1 recipient of the wealth exodus from 18 individual states — with New York, Illinois and New Jersey combining to contribute about $8 billion to Florida’s income base.

While long a haven for retirement, Florida’s effort to lure Wall Street executives has gained traction thanks to a provision in the federal tax law passed by the Trump administration that hits residents of high-tax states by putting a lower cap on state and local tax deductions.

Florida is also one of seven states that collect no income tax. The others are Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. While New Hampshire and Tennessee don’t have a state income tax, they do collect taxes on dividends and income from investments.

Billionaire hedge fund manager David Tepper, once ranked as New Jersey’s richest resident, moved his main address and the headquarters of Appaloosa Management LP to Florida a few years ago. Real estate mogul Barry Sternlicht told employees of Starwood Capital Group that the firm’s headquarters will shift from Greenwich, Connecticut, to Miami Beach by 2021.

Floridians’ Consumer Confidence Hits 17-Year High

consumer confidenceConsumer confidence in Florida reached its highest level in 17 years, increasing 1.4 points in April of 2019 to 102 from a revised figure of 100.6 in March.

These levels of confidence have not been observed since March 2002 when consumer sentiment reached 102 points.

Among the five components that compose the index, one decreased and four increased.


Current conditions
Floridians’ opinions about current economic conditions were mixed. Views of personal finances now compared with a year ago increased eight-tenths of a point, from 96.7 to 97.5. Conversely, opinions as to whether now is a good time to buy a big ticket item such as an appliance decreased 1.2 points, from 107.5 to 106.3.

Future expectations
The three components representing expectations for future economic conditions improved in April. Expectations of personal financial situations a year from now rose 3.2 points, from 106.8 to 110 – the highest level for this component since May 1999 when it reached 110 points.

Expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year increased 2.3 points, from 97.6 to 99.9. Similarly, expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years increased 2.4 points, from 94.2 to 96.6.

“Overall, Floridians are more optimistic,” says Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “April’s confidence boost stems from the positive outlook regarding national economic conditions in the short- and long-run. It is worth noting expectations are split among the population by gender, with women reporting less-favorable views.

Other economic indicators in Florida continue to be favorable. In March, economic activity expanded and the Florida unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent. Compared with last year, the number of jobs added statewide was 209,700, an increase of 2.4 percent.

Among all industries, professional and business services gained the most jobs, followed by education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. The information industry was the only sector losing jobs.

Additionally, personal income in Florida increased 5.2 percent in 2018 compared with 4.5 percent for the nation, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Net earnings, which is the sum of wages and salaries, supplements to wages and salaries, and proprietors’ income, contributed most to this increase in personal income. Professional, scientific, and technical services and construction were the leading contributors to the earnings increase in Florida.

“Looking ahead, given the economic outlook and the current levels of confidence, we anticipate consumer sentiment to remain high in Florida in the following months,” Sandoval adds.

Conducted April 1-25, the UF study reflects the responses of 539 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross section of Florida. The index used by UF researchers is bench-marked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.

Florida Realtors® April 2019

Florida Sets Another Tourism Record

Florida TourismThe broader economy might be throwing out some mixed signals, but Florida tourism was showing no signs of waning during the first three months of 2016.

While the nation’s gross domestic product saw a mere 0.5 percent bump in annual growth rate during the first quarter, and as retailers struggled with a customer base that is more prone to save and to spend its money on experience that material goods, the Sunshine State continued to welcome droves of visitors at a record pace.

There were 29.8 million tourists in the first three months of the year — the largest ever first quarter, and a 4.8 percent spike over the same period last year, data released on Monday by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism agency, showed.

The average number of direct travel-related jobs in the first quarter also reached a record 1.23 million, up 3.8 percent from the same period in 2015.

Some experts expect those increases to continue, even if they are not the double digit hikes that the state has seen in the past. Consumers are still spending on fun, even if they may be tightening their belts elsewhere.

“You see a willingness to spend for those experiences,” said Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, the community’s tourism promotions agency. “We certainly see it with grandparents willing to splurge on a great condo unit knowing that kids are going to come down for the weekend.”

This kind of growth is a prime example of why tourism agencies need to keep promoting their areas even in good economic times, said Elliott Falcione, executive director for Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Visit Florida has pushed into markets that it wasn’t in five years ago. Even if the economy falters domestically or in an international feeder market, the increases in visitors and dollars spent will still come because the state agency is constantly drawing new people to Florida.

“Diversification is a key word when you talk about preparing for darker times,” Falcione said.

Haley expects the growth will continue albeit more slowly.

Sarasota County, for example, saw another record-breaking March for tourist tax collection, but it only came with a 1 percent increase in the number of visitors when compared with 2015. The upcoming presidential election, too, will limit what the agency can do as far as advertising, she said.

Meanwhile, the weak Canadian loonie did mostly stall growth from the Great White North, one of Southwest Florida’s largest international feeder markets. Travel through January from Canada was only up 0.4 percent.

“We haven’t seen a dip,” Haley said. “What you are seeing is continued growth but at a much lower rate. We’re seeing some of the international and national things impact us.”

Still, nearly 30 million visitors already have come to Florida this year, and last year the state exceeded its goal and welcomed 105 million people. The Sunshine State also is expected to topple its record again this year and with 115 million visitors, Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement on Monday.

But it’s not all about putting new heads in hotel beds.

Visit Florida announced in September the agency a plan to bring in $100 billion in annual visitor spending by 2020. That means attracting visitors willing to stay long and spend more on Florida’s luxuries. These consumers with larger pocketbooks can boost the industry without necessarily diluting the quality of an area.

The Bradenton area targets households with an income greater than $125,000, Falcione said.

Consumers in that market are more likely to spend money on travel even in tougher times. They may limit their annual trips, but it is important to attract a market that will come back to Florida even when times are tough.

That old Florida feel in the southwestern part of the state is often an escape from the rat race of everyday life. It’s the kind of place people want to be even when times are tough, he said.

“Every day in life is more challenging in society today,” Falcione said. “People are always on technology and high energy, you never get a chance to break away. It makes our destination quite appealing.”

Herald Tribune 5/16/2016

Florida Breaks Tourism Record for Fifth Consecutive Year

105 million people travel to Sunshine State in 2015, governor says

florida tourismFlorida welcomed 105 million visitors last year, making 2015 the fifth consecutive year where tourism records were broken.

The new record exceeded the previous high of 98.5 million in 2014 by 6.6 percent, according to Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion arm.

The total number of visitors to the Sunshine State last year exceeded the populations of most of the world’s countries. It was about 3 million more people, for example, than inhabit the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the average number of direct travel-related jobs in 2015 also was a record high, with 1,199,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry, up 4.7 percent compared with the same period last year.

“Tourism plays an important role in supporting our economy, and we will continue to make strategic investments in the tourism industry to keep Florida on track to becoming first for jobs,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who revealed the preliminary tourist count Thursday at Walt Disney World in Orlando. “With five consecutive record years for tourism, it is time to set our goal even higher, and I look forward to welcoming 115 million visitors to the Sunshine State this year.”

Visit Florida estimates that a record 89.8 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in 2015, reflecting an 8 percent increase from 2014. Estimates also show that 11.2 million overseas visitors and 4 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State last year. The number of people boarding planes at 18 Florida airports during 2015 increased 8.2 percent when compared with the previous year, representing a record 6.1 million more passengers than in 2014.


The state’s success wasn’t a surprise to Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County and a board member for Visit Florida. Once Sarasota County saw that it had reached its own goal of welcoming more than a million visitors in 2015, she suspected the state as a whole would topple its goal.

“It’s nice to know that Sarasota played its part in that goal,” Haley said. “We know that first and foremost for us, a visitor has to be interested in Florida. Then we can make our case that the best place to be is Sarasota.” The state continues to draw more tourists, but Florida promoters and local agencies have shifted their goals for the future, Haley said. Lately, there’s been a greater emphasis on attracting visitors with a higher spending power and bringing in more tourists during the off season. Visit Sarasota County, specifically, has focused on attracting sporting events in the late spring, summer and early fall to boost tourism in the slower seasons.

“We as a state have shifted our focus,” Haley said. “I think it’s a very important shift.”

Locally, the Baltimore Orioles released an economic impact analysis by Sarasota County government this week suggesting that the team’s activities and presence at the Ed Smith Stadium and Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex generated about $81 million in Southwest Florida in the past year. That figure exceeds the $40 million to $50 million estimate reported by the state of Florida in a 2009 analysis of communities that host Major League Baseball Spring Training. The Orioles’ year-round presence, job creation, economic activity, commerce and direct club spending also contributed substantially to the results.

State Collaboration

Five years of record-setting visitation does not happen by accident, said Visit Florida CEO Will Seccombe, who credited the success to the agency’s global marketing strategy that focused on maximizing the economic impact of Florida tourism.

The collaboration with destination marketing organizations and the money the state has continued to pump into Visit Florida has made all the difference, said Elliott Falcione, executive director for Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“You’ve got to thank the Legislature and the governor for believing in Visit Florida,” Falcione said. “It’s now proven four years in a row that as the budget increases that visitation increase.”

In pushing to continue the increases, Scott has asked lawmakers to set aside $79.3 million for Visit Florida in the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The funding would be an increase of $6 million from the current year. The House and Senate have each budgeted $80 million for Visit Florida. Of that money, the House has proposed that $1.8 million go to a contract with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to craft an in-state tourism campaign. The Senate has pitched $2 million for the marketing contract with the Tallahassee-based hospitality trade association. Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida as a whole increased every month year-over-year from January through November 2015, representing an 8.6 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

The state is aiming to bring in $100 billion in total tourism related spending by 2020.


Total 2015 Visitors: 105 million, up 6.6%

Total Floridians employed in tourism: 1,199,200, up 4.7%

Domestic visitors: 89.8 million, up 8%

Overseas visitors: 11.2 million

Canadian visitors: 4 million

Number of people boarding planes at 18 Florida airports: 74.3 million, up 8.2%

Taxable sales increase January to November 2015: 8.6%

Average daily room rate increase: 5.9%

Number of rooms sold increase: 4.5%

Average room occupancy rate: 72 percent, up 3.2 percentage points

Source: Visit Florida

Herald Tribune February 18, 2016

Florida Breaks Tourism Record in 2015

welcome to florida-1The Sunshine State welcomed an estimated 79.1 million visitors during the first nine months of 2015, the most of any such period in Florida’s history.

The nine-month count was a 5.5 percent increase when compared with the same period in 2014.

The third quarter of this year saw an estimated 25.5 million visitors, an increase of 6.8 percent, according to a report from Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotions agency, released on Thursday.

The average number of direct travel-related jobs in the third quarter also was a record high, at 1,195,400, 5.2 percent more than a year ago.

Gov. Rick Scott has set a goal of drawing more than 100 million tourists to Florida this year, and that now seems within fairly easy reach.

Visit Florida estimated that there were 22.1 million domestic travelers to Florida in the third quarter, an 8.2 percent increase. There were another 3.4 million international visitors.

Preliminary figures for the nine-month period show 67.4 million domestic visitors, 8.3 million overseas visitors and 3.4 million Canadians.

Tourism and recreation taxable sales for Florida increased year-over-year for January through August, which was the last month reported, by 8.2 percent, while the average daily room rate rose 5.1 percent. The occupancy rate for Florida hotels increased 3.6 percent and the demand in rooms sold grew 4.8 percent compared with a year ago.

“The continued growth of tourism for the third quarter, including a record number of tourism-related jobs, puts Florida on pace for a fifth consecutive record breaking year. These records also emphasize the power of tourism as an economic leader and job creator for the state,” John Tomlin, Visit Florida’s chairman, said in a statement.

Local data has been equally impressive, with Sarasota County collected more than $19.02 million from its 5 percent tax on overnight accommodations during the recently ended fiscal year. That amounts to a 27 percent increase in those revenues from just two years ago. Meanwhile, that same revenue source in Manatee County was $11.74 million, a 30 percent jump from two years ago.

For the first time, too, Sarasota County broke 1 million visitors in paid lodgings.

In the July-to-September quarter, the number of visitors to Sarasota County was up 2.3 percent and their spending grew by 3.8 percent.

Herald Tribune November 2015


greetings-from-floridaFlorida tourism is on pace to pass the highly anticipated 100-million visitor mark for 2015, with more than 54.1 million visitors coming to the Sunshine State in the first half of 2015.

New quarterly numbers released Wednesday from Visit Florida, the state’s tourism arm, show a 5.8 increase from last year and the highest amount of visitors of any six months in the state’s history.

In just the second quarter of 2015 ending June 30, 25.8 million visitors came to Florida, an increase of 5.5 percent from the same point in 2014.

With the fifth record-breaking year, the higher about of tourism is also bringing a record average number of direct travel-related jobs.

In a prepared statement from Gov. Rick Scott, Florida’s tourism industry now employs 1,213,500 people – a number up 4.9 percent from the previous year.

Encouraging tourism helps Florida become the “best place in the world for jobs,” Scott said. “We look forward to exceeding our goal of 100 million visitors to Florida this year.”

Visit Florida also estimates more than 2.7 million overseas visitors, 1.2 million Canadians, and 21.9 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in the second quarter of 2015, a 6.8 percent increase.

Totals for the first half of 2015 show 45.7 million domestic visitors, 5.5 million overseas visitors and 2.9 million Canadians have come to the Sunshine State, an increase of 6.7 percent, 1.7 percent and 1.1 percent respectively. Top U.S. states for Florida tourism are New York (10 percent), Georgia (8 percent), Texas (6 percent) and Illinois (5 percent).

Most international visitors in 2014 came from Canada (4.2 million), followed by the United Kingdom (1.6 million) and Brazil (1.6 million).

Continued growth of tourism, as well as tourism-related jobs, is putting Florida on track for a fifth consecutive record-breaking year, said Visit Florida Board of Directors Chairman John Tomlin. He emphasized the power of tourism as an economic job creator, crediting the vision of Scott, the Legislature and his staff for “world-class strategies and execution.”

As the number of people visiting Florida increases, so does the amount collected in taxes on sales from recreation and related activities. From January through May 2015, the state enjoyed a 9.0 percent increase in tax revenue.

Visit Florida also estimates the average daily room rate (ADR) for the second quarter of 2015 rose 4.7 percent, with occupancy rates for Florida hotels increasing 2.9 percent and the demand for rooms sold grew 4.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

“This continued growth does not happen by accident,” said Visit Florida CEO Will Seccombe, who thanked Scott and the Legislature for their “unparalleled support.”

Tampa Tribune August 19, 2015

The 18 Cities Poised for Economic Growth

Florida Economic Growth

For the past few years, oil towns have dominated the ranks of the fastest-growing economies in America. Now that the energy boom is fading, a new leader is emerging: Retirement communities in Florida that are buoyed by a surge in baby boomers.

Naples, Florida, topped the list of metropolitan areas that are expected to see the most economic growth next year, according to an analysis of data in a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors prepared by IHS Global Insight. The economy there will grow 4.9 percent in 2016, according to the forecasts. The Villages, a sprawling senior community that has already been the fastest-growing city by population for two straight years, ranked third. The map below shows how metro areas in Florida made up half of the top 18 performers.
Florida Front runners

1. Naples/Marco Island
2. Sebring
3. The Villages
4. Cape Coral/Fort Myers

Florida Economic Growth

In 2014, the front runners consisted of mostly energy patch areas, many of which will probably end up as some of the worst-performing economies next year. Nowhere is the shift clearer than in Midland, Texas, which saw the best economic growth in the country in 2014 (11.9 percent) according to the report’s data. The expectation is that it will rank dead last (3.2 percent contraction) in forecasts for 2016. Other areas that are also expected to struggle include Midland’s neighbor Odessa and Casper, Wyoming.

With these previous oil and gas hubs tumbling down the ranks, it makes room for Florida’s metro economies to take their places at the top of the list in 2016.

Other metropolitan areas slated for growth in 2016 include greater San Jose, California, which makes up the heart of Silicon Valley; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah.

Bloomberg.com June 2015