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A runway to relief

A busy office building stands in Maitland Center. Economists say that commerical real estate will start to rebound in 2011.

A busy office building stands in Maitland Center. Economists say that commerical real estate will start to rebound in 2011.

Kristy Vickery

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As the New Year rang in with celebration, saluting 2010 as it ended and welcoming 2011 as it crept in, so did hope for a better year to come.

And as 2010 left, many are also hoping a descending market will leave with it, and the economy will slowly stagger to its feet once again.

“I think our economy is like an airplane — 2010 pushed out of the gate to the edge of the runway, and the runway is 2011,” University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith said. “In 2011, the economy will slowly start to build some momentum and really it will be the end of 2011 into 2012 before they start to take off.”

Snaith also said that although we will see a gradual indication that things are starting to get better in the 2011 economy, it’s not going to be instantaneous.

“I don’t think it will be an overwhelming amount of hiring going on,” he said. “I think it will improve as 2011 gets on, but the unemployment rate is still going to remain elevated for a significant period of time.”

Jobs

According to Workforce Central Florida, the unemployment rate for Central Florida is currently 11.9 percent, and is not projected to reach 6 percent or lower again until sometime between 2016 and 2018.

Although this rate remains on the high side, new monthly unemployment claims for the four-county area (Orange, Osceola, Lake and Sumter) have decreased over the past month and the past year.

Workforce Central Florida Spokeswomen Kim Sullivan said she has seen an increase in the number of employers who are posting jobs and a decrease in the number of employers laying off staff.

“There’s about a 30 percent increase in the number of jobs posted in online job banks over the last year,” she said. “So there are signs that are indicating things are starting to turn around, but it will be very slow.”

Sullivan also said that as jobs slowly return, people need to keep two things in mind when finding one.

“The key for people will be for them to be flexible; they might have to take a job that pays differently, has different hours or is in a different industry… and the other thing is for people to hone in on those skills that they’re really good at, and see how that translates to another job.”

John Crossman, President of Crossman & Co., said the market is connected to job growth.

“It’s all about jobs,” he said. “When we see job growth, everything else will come together.”

Crossman also said it will take time as the commercial and retail markets start to inch their way toward progress, but they are starting to show signs they are going in that direction, and will continue in 2011.

“I don’t think we’re completely out of the woods; there are still some things that concern me, but it feels a lot better for 2011,” Crossman said. “Things seem to be headed in a better direction.”

Marketplace Advisors President David Marks also said he sees the housing market at a consistent, steady recovering.

“We’re selling about 2,000 homes per month and our listings are down considerably from where they were last year,” he said.

Although the market may be gradually starting to show signs that it’s improving with the New Year, it will be a slow relief for a catastrophically hit economy.

“I see 2011 as a long protracted market,” said Orlando Realtor’s Association Vice President and CEO of Magic Companies Steve Moreira. “I do not see it returning to a seller’s market for at least three to four years down the road.”

But a sluggish turn around for a destitute economy may be just enough to bring hope for 2011.

“It’s a deep hole,” Snaith said. “And it’s going to take some time to climb out of it.”