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Third Quarter May Show Growth For Local Economy

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While the global economy continues to go up and down like a yo-yo; Wall Street has managed to see steady gains through the first half of the year.

Now that the third quarter has gotten underway, some economists believe a slowdown is coming to the national economy. The latest private numbers show manufacturing at its lowest level in roughly two years, but the news isn’t completely bad on many fronts.

While that uncertainty continues to rankle Wall Street, in South Florida it’s fairly easy to find consumers optimistic about the second half of 2012 thanks to lower energy and gas costs.

“I think it’s going to be good, people paying less for gas will give them more money to spend on other things and that will help the economy,” Doral waiter Fernando Santos said.

Online help-wanted ads grew by 232,000 last month according to the Conference Board and that’s being seen as the latest sign of a slowly improving labor market. At the same time, food prices should remain stable as transportation costs fall as fuel prices continue to drop.

Still, salaries for the average worker are stalled as companies continue to cut costs despite being able to lavish huge dollars on CEO’s and executives.

Closer to home, construction, tourism and real estate continues to improve. Nationally, construction in May grew to a five-month-high which is the best growth since the end of last year. Even the battered housing markets are seeing new construction in much of the country.

Still, as the home prices begin to come back, there’s a secondary problem being created for would-be homeowners. Trying to get a home loan remains extremely difficult and as rent prices are skyrocketing in South Florida, many individual budgets will be squeezed.

Financial Analyst Lane Jones of Coral Gables Evensky and Katz said as we enter the third Quarter, the economy is still facing serious challenges, but, “The economy continues to grind forward, particularly the U.S. economy continues to grind forward. And relative to the rest of the world, we probably look a little bit better.”

And don’t forget, it’s just a few weeks away from the start of back to school shopping; the end of the model-year close-outs at local car dealerships; the Labor Day weekend; and the start of the fall tourism-travel season.

So don’t be surprised if there are some solid economic gains over the third quarter around South Florida; even if those gains may not be officially reflected in the latest economic numbers until later in the fall.

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