My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Florida's Bottom Line Spring 2016 - Financial MarketsAs you know, one of my primary roles as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer is to keep my finger on the pulse of Florida’s economy and to communicate the information that I learn to the people of Florida. One of the ways I do that is through my quarterly economic magazine, Florida’s Bottom Line.

Each quarter, we examine a relevant economic topic and gather insight from top experts in the respective field. In the past, we’ve produced editions about Florida’s middle-market companies, veteran-owned businesses, and international trade. We’ve even looked at how Florida’s growing sports and aerospace industries impact our state’s growing economy.

I released the newest edition today and this quarter I'm focusing on financial markets. Financial markets are one of the most important aspects of the U.S. economy. They represent the strength of our businesses, the optimism of our consumers, and the wealth of our nation, so it is vital that they remain healthy.

However, at the start of 2016, financial markets took a downward turn that has only recently corrected course. These fluctuations strained overall consumer wealth, and it spread pessimism about the strength of the U.S. economy. Despite these challenges, the underlying U.S. and Florida economies have continued to show positive growth into 2016.

Inside this edition of Florida’s Bottom Line, we highlight the various factors that have impacted U.S. financial markets and what they mean for Florida’s economy. Inside you will find keen insight from financial experts here in Florida as well as details about a new tool that tracks the strength of Florida’s businesses in the stock market.

By shining a light on what has occurred in financial markets, I hope to provide information about the state of our economy so Floridians can feel confident about their financial footing and businesses can continue to grow, creating more jobs in our communities and strengthening the state’s economy.

I invite you to read about these recent developments and how Florida’s economy continues to be a beacon of opportunity and prosperity.

I hope you find this publication to be of value to you and I welcome your feedback.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida Receives Top Marks for Transparency in Government Spending

Following the MoneyLast week, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), released its annual Following the Money report that puts state governments' access to spending information to the test. The nation’s 50 states are ranked from top to bottom based on how much information they publicly provide about state spending and how easily such information is to understand and obtain. For the fourth year in a row, Florida received an "A" grade and was ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

When CFO Atwater assumed this office in 2011, Florida had a low "D" grade and was ranked 36th in the nation. However, Florida’s grade has continued to improve with each year CFO Atwater has been in office because of his commitment to transparency. This year, Florida once again received a high grade and was ranked eighth in the nation.

U.S. PIRGCFO Atwater said, "When I took office in 2011, I was not satisfied with where we stood in these rankings. Just as every American taxpayer deserves the right to access information about how our federal government is spending tax dollars, so do Floridians. When I was first elected to this post, I committed to making Florida’s data more transparent, accountable and open. In 2012, I championed changes that led to the creation of the Florida Accountability Contract Tracking System (FACTS), which pulled back the curtains on state spending."

FACTS Transparency Florida"Through FACTS, Floridians have gained the ability to look at state contracts, to interactively view spending, and to learn precisely how their hard-earned dollars are used to support public programs, fund critical projects and improve the way Florida does business. Since I made it my mission to improve in this area, Transparency Florida has been recognized as among the best websites in the nation, and we continue to explore opportunities to make even more information accessible to the people we serve," according to the CFO.

To view Transparency Florida’s website, click here.

Serve, Save, Succeed: An Online Serve, Save, SucceedCommunity Where Servicemembers Share Ideas

CFO Atwater encourages Florida's military servicemembers and their families to start saving today in order to build a solid financial foundation for the future. Join our online community forum to share your personal savings stories and review the financial resources addressing the top financial challenges faced by the military.

View our testimonial videos to learn some valuable savings tips from local servicemembers who have successfully navigated financial challenges and the techniques they used to reach their financial goals.

Review our Resource Guide for in-depth information on credit and debt, credit score, predatory lending, the Servicemember Civil Relief Act and more.

Florida Economic Briefs

Venture capital investment in Florida increases by over 1,900 percent
In the first quarter of 2016, Florida attracted over $850 million in venture capital investments, up 1,930 percent from the fourth quarter of last year ($42.1 million). Venture capital is money provided to entrepreneurial companies to facilitate growth and is indicative of a growing economy.
Source: National Venture Capital Association

Florida unemployment rate down in March
Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in March, down 0.1 percentage points from February (5.0 percent) and down 0.7 percentage points from March of last year (5.6 percent). The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in March.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics