Orlando pushes ahead of Miami in economic growth

Orlando is leading Florida out of recession and expanding so briskly the city best known for theme parks is poised to push aside Miami as the state’s fastest growing metropolis for at least a generation.

Beyond globally famous Disney World and a massive lodging sector, Orlando in central Florida is benefiting from above average jobs growth, a booming health sciences complex and cheap housing prices.

“People think I’m gushing about Orlando,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist specializing in regional economies for Wells Fargo Securities LLC. “But I’ve got to believe the city will be one of the fastest growing cities in the country over the next 25 years.”

Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, sees Orlando and central Florida as “the new breadbasket for the state.”

“It’s the location in the state that’s going to have the most growth in the next decade or two,” Snaith said.

Recent jobs data underscore a northward shift in the economic gravity of Florida, a state of 18.8 million which was especially hard hit by the U.S. housing collapse that still overhangs Florida’s economic growth, employment and politics.

In a mash up of 23 economic measurements, Orlando ranks 27th out of 366 metropolitan areas across the United States, and No. 1 in the fourth most populous U.S. state, according to William Fruth, president of the economic research firm POLICOM.

Read the rest of the article from the Orlando Sentinel and Reuters here.

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