By CBSMiami.com Team

ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) — A new economic forecast predicts unemployment will continue to decline in Florida in 2022 and the state’s job growth will outpace the national economy.

Florida’s unemployment rate, which stood at 4.5% in November, is expected to continue falling in 2022, and housing starts will pick up, but not quickly enough to satisfy robust demand in the short run, according to the forecast released earlier this month by the Institute for Economic Forecasting at the University of Central Florida.

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Inventory for single-family homes is so scarce in Florida that it would take only 1.3 months to use up the current supply of homes at the current rate of demand. Nationally, the supply was at 7.1 months in October. Typically, a six-month supply is considered a healthy and balanced market.

“Florida’s realtors are desperate for homes to buy and sell,” the UCF report said. “The paucity of inventory and supply chain problems for builders have led to cold calling/texting to try and drum up inventory.”

In contrast to the Great Recession more than a dozen years ago, the housing market won’t be an “albatross” around Florida’s economy during the continued recovery from the pandemic, the report said.

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“On the contrary, housing will continue to be an important economic driver as the recovery from the COVID-19 recession continues, and builders work to replenish severely depleted inventories,” the report said.

The sector with the biggest expected job growth in Florida over the next three years is hospitality, which was battered during the past two years by the pandemic, with a predicted jump of 8.1%. That is followed by professional and business services, which are expected to grow by 3.8%. Professional and business services are white-collar jobs like lawyers, architects, and accountants.

Florida’s population over the next three years will continue to grow as Baby Boomers retire and move to the Sunshine State, and more job-seekers will migrate to Florida as the travel and hospitality industry recovers from the pandemic-caused downturn of the past two years, the forecast said.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSMiami.com Team