Economic forecast: An optimistic outlook for 2024

The North Florida Local Economic Project is upbeat for the next 12 months, but there are concerns about geopolitical tensions.

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  • | 12:05 a.m. November 24, 2023
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While Jacksonville area unemployment has crept higher this year from a record low in 2022, the economic outlook for 2024 is optimistic, but with concerns.

A monthly survey of Northeast Florida manufacturers by the University of North Florida’s Local Economic Indicators Project showed the business activity outlook for the next 12 months is positive.

“The fact that businesses are busy with solid demand for finished goods is a positive sign for the Jacksonville economy, as it often leads to more jobs, higher wages, and increased spending,” UNF economist Albert Loh said in a report on the survey.

Albert Loh, University of North Florida professor of economics and director of the school’s Local Economic Indicators Project. He created a measure of the area economy called the Jacksonville Economic Monitoring Survey, or JEMS.
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A quarterly survey on the world economy by Jacksonville-based Dun & Bradstreet also found a positive outlook, but expressed concerns about the Middle East.

“The Israel-Hamas conflict could derail the nascent business optimism for Q4 2023. Despite businesses worldwide maintaining a cautious sense of hope in the face of geopolitical tensions and elevated interest rates, the conflict’s impact remains a cause for concern,” Dun & Bradstreet Global Chief Economist Arun Singh said in a news release.

“The future trajectory of global business optimism will heavily depend on how this ongoing conflict unfolds and its broader implications for businesses worldwide,” he said.

Loh said global concerns could impact Jacksonville’s economy.

“While the overall business sentiment for the coming 12 months is positive, Jacksonville’s economy may experience steady but potentially moderate growth, reflective of the national and global economic landscapes and their inherent uncertainties,” he said.

The unemployment rate in the Jacksonville metropolitan area fell to 2.2% in December 2022, the lowest ever in the Florida Department of Commerce’s records, which date back to 1990.

The latest data showed the jobless rate at 3.1% in October, but that’s a reflection of more people looking for work.

Nonfarm businesses have added 31,200 jobs to their payrolls in the last 12 months, a 4% growth rate. 



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