Study Suggests the Imminent Recession Will Hit Florida Harder Than Any Other State

It's the most highly populated state to crack Oxford Economic's new "vulnerability rankings"

Study Suggests the Imminent Recession Will Hit Florida Harder Than Any Other State
Joël de Vriend/Unsplash

According to a recent briefing by global forecasting firm Oxford Economics, Florida will take the incoming recession harder than any other highly populated state. OE’s team of 250 full-time economists ran vulnerability models that took into account reliance on tourism, prevalence of retail sales, and the share of citizens over 65; Florida was the only top-10 most-populated state (it’s #3, with 21.5 million) to crack Oxford Economics‘ top-10, which also included Maine, Nevada, Vermont, Oregon, South Carolina, Louisiana, Idaho, Montana and Hawaii.

There are some clear through lines in that list. Maine, Vermont, Oregon, Idaho and Montana are rural states. Nevada, Louisiana and Hawaii rely on tourism. South Carolina is old. But Florida blends it all, and unlike its highly populated brethren New York and California, which should be able to weather a recession due to diverse, dynamic economies, Florida will struggle from a structural standpoint to crawl out of the turmoil that’s already arrived. (An unprecedented six million Americans filed for unemployment benefits at the end of March.)

A tragic backdrop to this new reality? Pandemic economic studies have routinely proven that when strict measures are imposed earlier, local economies can mitigate some of the ensuing financial fallout. Florida, helmed by Governor Ron DeSantis, infamously allowed spring breakers to drink on its beaches and worshippers to congregate in churches before imposing shelter-at-home rules.

Before the state can even think about addressing its economy, it has to slow down the spread of COVID-19, which is currently arriving in full force. Recent reports suggest Florida won’t peak until late April, and could see a heartbreaking 200 deaths per day through the worst of it.

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