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HomePersonal BankingWealth ManagementSmall BusinessCommercialCorporate & InstitutionalAbout BMO

Florida Continues to Recover at a Modest Pace

- Job Growth Remains Modest

- Housing Supply is Easing on Low building

- Tourism Rebounds



TAMPA, FLORIDA--(Marketwire - June 18, 2012) - The Florida economy continues to recover at a modest pace. Real GDP grew a sluggish 0.5 percent in 2011 as construction output fell for the fifth straight year, offsetting solid 4.6 percent growth in accommodation and food services according to the State Monitor report released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics. Tourism has rebounded but visitor traffic cooled slightly in the 2011 Q4, down 1 percent year-over-year.

Job growth remains modest, with nonfarm employment rising less than 1 percent year-over-year in April. The real estate sector continues to gradually recover, up 3.3 percent from 2010, but construction employment continues to fade, hitting the lowest level since 1990. The jobless rate fell to 8.7 percent in April from 10.6 percent a year ago, one of the highest in America. The winding down of NASA's shuttle program will temporarily eliminate thousands of jobs until the Constellation program begins running (expected in 2015).

"Population growth picked up 1.2 percent in 2011 as net outward state migration appears to have stopped, but growth remains well below the pre-recession trends, "said Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group.

Housing is showing signs of stabilization, but it is far from adding meaningfully to economic growth. Home prices were down 3.2 percent year over year in 2012 Q1 that's twice the decline seen nationally. The months' supply of homes for sale has fallen sharply in Miami, Tampa and Sarasota due to depressed new building activity and higher sales. While foreclosures are declining, the foreclosure rate was still extremely high at 14.3 percent in 2012 Q1, miles above the 4.4 percent national rate and the highest in America. Meantime, nearly 44 percent of mortgages remained in a negative equity position in 2011 Q3, the third highest in the country.

According to Dave Maraman, Florida President at M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group, "Florida businesses have started taking the opportunity to invest in their operations to improve productivity. We are providing our clients with sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus to assist them with specific solutions to help them upgrade their businesses."

BMO Financial Group announced in 2011 that the company is making an additional $5 billion in business credit available to support the U.S. business-led recovery.

The full State Monitor report can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics.

About BMO Financial Group

Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 650 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank(SM) is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

Media Contact:
Beth Copeland
(317) 269-1395
beth.copeland@micorp.com