‘Cautious outlook’ for Jacksonville economy

The University of North Florida Economic Monitoring Survey finds Northeast Florida manufacturers show mixed signals.

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  • | 3:01 p.m. May 4, 2023
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University of North Florida economist Albert Loh
University of North Florida economist Albert Loh
Photo by Dede Smith
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A monthly survey of Jacksonville area manufacturers shows the Northeast Florida economy pointing up in April, mainly because of a rise in employment.

However, other indicators are pointing downward so University of North Florida economist Albert Loh, who coordinates the survey, is maintaining a cautious outlook for the economy.

The Jacksonville Economic Monitoring Survey, conducted by UNF’s Local Economic Indicators Project, asks manufacturers in the Jacksonville area for information on 12 indicators of their companies’ performance.

Three of the 12 indicators showed increases in April, including a big increase in employment, resulting in the overall index showing expansion.

However, six indicators were contracting and the other three were showing no change.

“From the April JEMS, we saw an indication of contraction in output, backlogs of work, output prices, and input purchases in the Jacksonville area. This observation is mostly consistent with similar statistics reported elsewhere at the national level throughout the first quarter of the year,” Loh said in his report.

“JEMS survey respondents also expressed weakening optimism in their 12-month business outlook in April,” he said.

While Loh said he has a cautious outlook, based on the April survey, there were positive indicators.

“The good news is that new orders have remained steady from the last month, so there is no immediate sign of further softening of the demand. In addition, employment in manufacturing was up significantly from March, hinting that the labor shortage has been easing,” he said.



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