October 25th, 2012
02:13 PM ET
1 year ago

Battleground Blog: The speed of Florida's recovery

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN has sent dozens of reporters, producers, conntributors and correspondents to the key battleground states to cover the final days of the 2012 election. Here is a brief report from one team:

(CNN) - All across Florida, we're hearing the same refrain on the Battle Ground Bus Tour. Yes, the economy is starting to improve – but it's not happening fast enough.

The key question for swing voters is whether the President Obama has earned more time to implement a real recovery or whether it's time to hire a businessman like Mitt Romney to do the job.

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Politics and economics intersect, especially in the final weeks of a presidential election. And the unemployment numbers along the pivotal I-4 corridor are a microcosm of the larger issues in this state.

Unemployment here in the Orlando area is 8% – just above the national average and equivalent to where things were when President Obama took office in January of 2009. But lack of progress only tells part of the story – unemployment rose to above 12% by March of 2010 and stayed in the low double digits for over a year. So we have climbed out of the trough. But because every voter's sense of the economy is understandably subjective – related to whether they have a good job right now – Ali Velshi and I spoke to Carl Brown, Professor of Economics at Florida Southern College. He's an expert on the local economy across the I-4 Corridor, and here is part of what he said.

"The Florida economy is in a very slow recovery from a very steep economic recession," Brown explains. "Retail sales dropped about 20%. Employment dropped about five and a half percent and building permits fell by 90%. Actually the building permits began to fall off in 2006. I think the recession here locally probably began a few months before the national recession did and it's been steeper because of the importance of housing in the local economy."

I think the reason you're seeing economic recovery here is because of the demographics," Professor Brown continues. "Population growth is starting back up again. Retail sales are back up again. Employment's bottomed out. Home prices are up 3% in September from where they were a year ago."

Now some new housing developments in the Orlando area are selling out on spec. So the million dollar question of this election is whether President Obama gets some credit for the rebound.

"It depends on who you talk to, obviously," Professor Brown says sensibly. "I think that the policies that were enacted in terms of fiscal policy were absolutely necessary. I think that if those policies had not taken place, we'd be in much tougher circumstances than we are now. Now of course the criticism would be that the recovery has not been as rapid as it should have been. But if you look at what's happening in the rest of the world the United States is doing pretty well right now."


Filed under: Battleground Blog
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. truth hurts

    The LSM media won't cover it and tell the truth but the economy HAS GOTTEN WORSE EACH YEAR OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS. This year is worse than last years and last year was worse than the year before! The LSM have totally let Obama off the hook and let him spread his LIES about how "things are getting better". It is a LIE not backe dup by the FACTS.

    Wake up America!! You are being CONNED!! There is no "recovery"!

    October 25, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Jan

    BUSINESSMAN or BUSINESS EXPERIENCE...two blanket captions/titles with little meaning unless you take a deeper look. When considering what Romney has done as a BUSINESSMAN with BUSINESS EXPERIENCE I don't know how anyone in his or her right mind can think that he would be better and solving our Nation's Economic Problems. IT WAS AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR ECONOMY that Romney built his business and the business of those he made investments for. BECAUSE OF THE PRACTICES OF BAIN CAPITAL AND LIKE BUSINESSES AND SAID INVESTORS INVESTING THEIR PROFITS IN OFF SHORE ACCOUNTS OUR ECONOMY IS CRIPPLED. So would someone please help me understand how Romney would be better for the economy as I still have not figured it out!!!!!

    October 25, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Clearly, Obama has not even CARED about the economy, at all. He spent his entire first year and a half, pushing a bill no one in the country really wanted, and which barely passed, even when his party controlled the Congress, and which has proven to be, a disaster in increasing costs for both employers and citizens, by a substantial amount, with more increases to come.

    Of course the people should fire him.......he isn't getting the job done. He hasn't even really made any attempt to improve the economy. All he has done, is squander our money, on his pet projects, which have ALL failed.

    October 25, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. California Gary

    For those that say the "recovery" is not going fast enough, so we need to elect Romney........I would suggest that you think long and hard about what we are having to recover from, and what caused it. Romney proposes to put us right back into the mode that caused the problem in the first place. With his election, the recovery won't pick up pace, it will disappear entirely. Apply a little common sense to this please........a slow recovery is vastly better than no recovery.

    October 25, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. truth hurts

    2010 GDP for the Year: 2.4%
    2011 GDP for the Year: 1.8%
    1st quarter 2012: 2.0 percent
    2nd quarter 2012: 1.3 percent

    FACT is the economy is not growing enough to keep up with the growth in population, and it is getting WORSE. Obama bragging about creating 5 million jobs over 3 years? Guess what? We needed about 9 miillion in that 3 years just to stay even. But of course Obama was able to drive the unemployment number down by claiming all those people just dropped out of the work force! WHALLAH!! A miracle!! The APPEARANCE of improvement.

    There is NO "recovery", there is no "higher employment". Fewer people are working now than in the last 30 years.

    WAKE UP America!! You are being CONNED!!!

    October 25, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Critical Thinking

    The facts speak for themselves. GDP has been shrinking year after year with this President. We are just about stalled speed in our growth, the next will be recession. The President has been putting band aids on this economy, hoping that he can hold it together for one more quarter till the election. If we are not smart enough to recognize this oil snake salesman and re-elect him, this country will go into another recession, the Obama recession.

    It's time : BO MUST GO !

    October 25, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Hotdog

    They expect this president to wave a magical wand and our problems will be solved. When the jobs were being out sourced did G.W. Bush do any thing to stop it? What was G.W. Bush doing when we were losing about 750 jobs per month. The jobless situation in this country can not be solved over night no matter who's the POTUS. I think that we are on the right track and if Romney is elected he would go back to the policies of G.W. Bush. People seem to have a short memory as to where we came from when he took office to where we are now.

    October 25, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Guest

    An Obama recovery is money from your pocket to his special interest handouts!

    ROMNEY/RYAN 2012

    October 25, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. California Gary

    And "guest" my friend, a Romney recovery is money from your pocket to his. Just ask the people who are having their jobs shipped to China while Romney makes millions once again on the deal even as we speak.

    October 25, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Donkey Party

    So let's get this straight. In states that have recovered quicker where there are Republican Governors in control, it's not because of the President's policies. But when a state with a Republican governor is failing, it's the President's fault. You'd have to be extremely ignorant (or just a right-winger, same thing) not to see through this BS. Thanks for continuing to show your lack of journalistic integrity CNN, keep it up, you're almost as bad as Fox News.

    October 25, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    Mitt will send you to CHINA....

    October 25, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Guest

    Gary my left coast friend, your state is the national beacon of failed liberal politics/economics in action!

    I hope the rest of the nation is with me and casts their vote for Romney so those policies arent followed elsewhere.

    October 25, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. Reality

    Let's get real. Companies have been making record profits yet have continued to downsize and lay people off. The Government, including the President can't force them to invest their profits. Companies are carrying huge cash positions.

    The real reason the economy is growing so slow is that many businesses have figured out how to eliminate high paying jobs by while increasing the work load of those they keep. If they need additional help, they hire temporary part time workers, who they get for less money and no benefits.

    Our financial problems were created by the big banks use of Diveratives and Credit Default Swaps. We are still paying for those and will continue to pay for them in the near future. Why are jobs still being lost while Corporations are making record profits? Think about it? It's corporate warfare to Diminish the Middle Class.

    This has less to do with Republicans/Democrats and more to do with greed. Changing Presidents at this point isn't going to help the economy since a new President who changes direction will need time to implement his policies and in Romney's case undo the policies that are in place.

    What is really needed is people in leadership that actually look to solve problems instead of trying to forward agenda's that are aimed to do nothing more than create contrast between the 2 parties.

    October 25, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Christian

    Romney left Massachusetts with an approval rate in the 30s. He made all of his money by gaming the system and playing games with people's companies at Bain Capital. He laid people off, outsourced jobs to china, and put the millions of dollars he made into tax shelters in the islands, so he would not have to pay a reasonable tax rate. This is not a 'maker." he talks about the "makers" and the "takers," I say people who make money this way are takers.
    Florida, and all other states should be worried about his "promise everything" approach.

    October 25, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Dan

    President Bush left office and the US was losing more than 750,000 jobs per month.
    At that pace, we would have lost more than 9 million jobs per year.
    At that pace, we would have lost more than 36 million jobs from 2009-2012.

    Reality is President Obama turned it around and we are growing.
    Housing is even seeing a recovery. They are hiring again. Housing alone accounts for 20% of the US economy. This housing recovery is starting because President Obama's Fed is keeping interest rates down. Millions of Americans have re-financed to below 3% loans and are just starting to put this money into the economy.

    Thanks to natural gas production exploding over the last couple years, US businesses are building the first natural gas to diesel conversion plant. They can convert natural gas to diesel for less than the cost of oil to diesel.

    Thanks to President Obama's investments, things are looking very bright.
    Read what science and businesses are investing in.
    2013 and 2014 will be the most technological advances the US has seen since the mid 90's.

    October 25, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. tendofreak

    (I live in Florida long the I-4 section and heres my say) The WHOLE reason that florida has recovered as we have is that we have a excellent govoner...Gov Scott.a Republican and former business man. Becasue of his fiscal tightening we have recovered slowly. Florida did not bite the carrot that Obama was dangling in front of us. We will not "borrow" at someone else expense. Thats money that has to be paid back and Gov Scott could see that money borrowed today is that much less money in the future. Obama had NOTHING to do with our recovery. NOTHING...do not let him take credit for the work that Scott has done. ( It was only republican fiscal responsiblity that has gotten us to where we are). So..if your smart....vote Romney/Ryan 2012.....some may not like what they do.(get all the no-doers off the govt list!) but America will be better off if you dont mind working. Vote R/R...if not for you then your children.

    October 25, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. kayla

    the stiff will have to pay back his billionaires pimp for the money they invested in him, so good luck to all you people with robme blinders .

    October 25, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Joi Gibson

    OMG – has this state not learned a lesson after voting in Lurch. I love my state but sometimes I wonder about the mental capacity. It appears some brains have been sun scorched and no longer function properly. It is the same mentality of "keep the government out of my Medicare." It is frightening. I have seen several Obama/Biden stickers and no Romney/Ryan stickers. I will keep my fingers crossed.

    OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 2012!!

    October 25, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Critical Thinking

    As a Ohio Resident, I echo the policy changes in our state and in Florida that has helped to turn things around. Thank goodness we had the common sense to elect Republican Governors, hopefully we will use the same common sense to elect a Republican President.

    October 25, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Kirk in michigan

    So,.am i to believe that if we continued george bush agenda, we would all be doing fine, right? ofcourse not, i dont understand how you repubs think going back to those policies will magically do the opposite of what they did last time, that is absurd! we were losing 750,000 jobs a month, and now were gaining, but thats all just a conspiracy, really, its a pretty good one, how exactly would you hide losing that kind of employment, your trying to con people! and not doing a very good job either. obama must be a god to be able to fudge jobs reports in all 50 states, he's good huh?. every republican post is the same, zero % responsible for the economy, to hear you talk i would think dems have been in control for decades, this is your mess he is cleaning up, without your help, make plans for vacatoin mitt, your schedule is about too be wide open. hahahahahaha,

    October 25, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Kirk in michigan

    Repubs complain about the bailout, well, i dont know how to break it to ya fellas, but this was caused bybthe policies you seem to think will save us, please, please,truth, explain to mehow 4 more years of bush policies will make it all better,please, this should be a hoot! take your time, i know this is atough one to b.s. through, but im sure a stoic.rightie like yourself has brainwashed yourself an excuse. love to hear it

    October 25, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. TheVoice2

    Mitt Phony is saying Obama did not clean the mess up fast enough. So put me in and I'll implement the same policies as Bush but this time it's going to work because I say so.

    R= Republican
    R=Romney
    R= Ryan
    R= Reverse

    Lets move FORWARD with Obama!

    October 25, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    Its stunning to me that anyone who lives in FL or OH thinks that a man who committed fraud on a massive scale, or was a hedge fund manager is responisble for the recovery. Kasich has admitted the auto bailout helped his state: his management in 2 years did nothing to aid the recovery. Similarly, FL benefitted from policies that kept the banks in check. No money for infrastructure, no money for schools or job training came from the state governments in those states. By their viewpoint, the people of NV and MI should dump their GOP governors for their lack of performance, since they have the worst economies in the country. Idiots all.

    October 25, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Kirk in michigan

    Why do all the posts coming from the right all have the same problem, they refuse to acknowledge that republican policies got usnin the biggest financial meltdown in 75 years, now that things are starting to get better, they want to go back to more of the same,do not let that happen, black guy as president does not make me giddy, butnits betterthan a super rich white guy telling me what obamas doing is all wrong, i guess thatbdpends on what your goal is. things are getting better so lets stop taking the medicine right? dont be conned into thinking things will be different if mitts elected, the party has not channged a thing, boehner wont even say comprimise, does that sound like someone who understands how washington works for the people, or the party, we cannot move forward with the republican agenda of filliusting, that means you've been getting paid for for years to do nothing but block evry attempt to make things better, is there really a choice. not a difficult one if you look at it the right way

    October 25, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Kirk in michigan

    Still waiting for you righties to explain how bush policies will do things differently, majically do the opposite of four years ago? your delusional at best, trickle down economics dont work and you know it, thats why mitt is calling obamas policies that, because it is widely accepted as the truth, miits policies are triclkle down, thats the new republican mantra, absolute lies, as in completely opposite of the truth,,,,,

    October 25, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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