MIAMI (CBS4) – The rising price of gas, Facebook’s stumble on Wall Street and the end of the Twinkie made business headlines nationwide.
Here in South Florida improved tourism, improved real estate values and new local construction projects were the talk of the town in the business community.
Coral Gables realtor Rene Beal thinks this past year saw some solid gains for her family and her business’ bottom line.
“2012 was better than 2011 so I see improvement. I see a lot of things in my pipeline that point to a recovery, so I am very hopeful this economy will recover and will recover very strong,” said Beal.
Matt McGrath, a Coral Gables financial analyst, agreed that 2012’s housing and real estate gains helped in the local economic recovery.
“I think number one, especially here in South Florida, the housing market, we’ve seen some turn around there with housing prices. It won’t affect everybody but it’s certainly got a ripple effect through the local economy,” said McGrath.
Retail spending also showed signs of improvement around South Florida.
However, the professional job market and personal income continued to see very slow growth.
Some local employment analysts confirmed that many of the latest job openings were for temporary part time positions with little to no benefits.
Kendall air freight specialist Roberto Almeida said he’ll remember 2012 as a rough year.
‘No, I don’t believe it was any better. I think the economy, maybe the election was a factor in that and the economy in general was very slow based,” said Almeida.
2012 also saw one of the areas biggest employers, American Airlines, file for bankruptcy protection and slash jobs. But it wasn’t all bad news. Because of the area’s growing South American and European tourism, American Airlines is still planning on adding flights at its Miami hub.
So what’s around the corner in 2013?
Some forecasters expect continued slow growth fueled by solid gains in the housing market and improving real estate values.
“If that market can continue to improve, it could be a good bell weather looking forward to 2013,” said McGrath.
2012 may go down as another transitional year for the local and national economy. Family budgets have been helped by stabilized food and gas prices. But there is still a ways to go to get back to where we were before the recession.