Florida’s economic growth in 2014 outpaced the national average, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Wednesday. Goods and services produced in Florida increased 2.7 percent last year compared with 2.2 percent nationally, the bureau said. Growth in Florida topped all states east of the Mississippi River except West Virginia where the economy jumped 5.1 percent thanks to its mining industry, said BEA spokesman Thomas Dail. Florida’s economy, meanwhile, has benefited from strong growth in real estate and rental and leasing, Dail said. Florida, with more than triple the national growth in the real estate sector, was behind only North Dakota, the federal data showed. “There has been fairly strong contributions from retail trade as well,” Dail added. Florida had nearly double the national growth in the retail sector and was behind only Arizona, Washington and North Dakota, according to BEA’s numbers.
Overall, Florida’s economic growth ranked 11th in the nation – good enough to beat any state touching the Atlantic – including New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Georgia. The one bleak spot: Florida’s per capita share of the economy – the state’s output of goods and services divided by its population – continues to lag the nation’s. Last year, Florida’s was $38,690 vs. the nation’s $49,049. Florida has yet to recover to its pre-recession high of $44,048 in 2006. Florida has been rebounding from a deep recession since 2011, when the state’s economy actually contracted 0.6 percent, federal data shows. Goods and services grew only 1.7 percent in 2012, below the 1.9 percent national average. Florida’s economy outpaced the nation’s in 2013 and 2014.