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Gallagher: Florida’s Economy Continues to Lead the Nation

1/9/2006

CONTACT:
Tami Torres or Bob Lotane
(850) 413-2842
 
State Leads the Way as the Nation Continues Strong Economic Expansion
 
 TALLAHASSEE – Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, today applauded new data

showing the nation's economy continuing to grow at a robust pace with Florida leading the way.   Nationally there was strong growth in gross domestic product, incomes, manufacturing and consumer confidence while the unemployment rate continued to fall. 
 
 Florida led the nation last year with over 252,000 jobs created.  The 3.5 percent employment growth rate and the 7.8 percent personal income growth rate both exceeded forecasts made by state economists last year.
 
"This great performance is due in large part to the hard work and common-sense policies of Gov. Bush and our Republican-led Legislature to create an economy in Florida that is among the best in the nation," said Gallagher.  "But more importantly, it is the result of Florida's business men and women and Florida's workers who continue to make this state strong and vibrant.  We need to continue building an environment that allows businesses to grow, that attracts new investment to the state and that creates good jobs for Floridians."
 
 Forecasts for the coming year predict the Florida economy will remain bullish.  Overall employment is expected to grow by 3.5 percent while the unemployment rate reaches a low of 3.69 percent, compared with the most recent national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.  Personal income growth is expected to rise 6.6 percent.  In addition to the upbeat private sector financial figures, the state's bond ratings have been upgraded by all three major bond rating agencies.  In fact, Florida received its first ever triple-A bond rating. 
 
 "These improved bond ratings show that our conservative financial management practices are really paying off," said Gallagher.  "The millions of dollars saved will allow us to continue efforts to reduce the tax burden on our citizens while still providing necessary services and improving our infrastructure."
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.