SUMMARY

  • Growth in consumer spending in the Orlando region is slowing as high prices take their toll on shoppers.
  • The region added 24,300 jobs in the year ending April 2024 as employment growth normalizes at a rate higher than the nation.
  • Healthcare continues to be a key source of job opportunities in the region, even as demand for labor cools.
  • New population estimates suggest Lake County is home to the region’s fastest-growing cities.
  • The area’s median home price hit a new record in April as high interest rates fail to deter homebuyers.
  • The region welcomed more than 74 million visitors in 2023 as Orlando maintained its position as the most visited destination in the U.S.
  • Area businesses surveyed by the Partnership are confident in their own prospects and are increasingly seeking new clients.
  • Inflation and high interest rates are expected to slow U.S. growth in 2024, but Orlando businesses should find sufficient growth opportunities in the local market.

RECENT ECONOMIC DATA

CONSUMER SPENDING​

The latest sales data hint at consumers pulling back on spending. Growth in consumer spending fell below inflation in early 2024 as household savings continue to dwindle and debt levels increase.

PAYROLL EMPLOYMENT​

Job growth in the region is easing but continues to outpace the nation. The region added a net gain of 24,300 jobs in the twelve months ending April 2024.

JOB GROWTH BY SECTOR

All but two local industries have added jobs in the last year. Employment in the financial sector has declined amid a push for efficiency, while a pullback in temporary staffing has reduced headcount in the professional and business services industry.

JOB POSTINGS

Healthcare remains an important source of employment opportunities in the region, even as demand for labor eases across the economy. In April, the industry accounted for 1 in 6 job postings.in the region as well as the three companies with the most postings.

POPULATION

New city-level population estimates reveal the local communities gaining the most residents. The region’s most populous city, Orlando, added the most residents between July 2022 and July 2023; however, cities in Lake County were the fastest-growing.

HOUSING MARKET​

The area’s median home price hit $388,500 in April, surpassing its previous June 2022 peak of $387,000. Inventory levels, although increasing, remain below long-term averages as would-be sellers weigh the benefit of giving up low interest rates; the average mortgage rate in April was 6.9%.  

TOURISM

Orlando welcomed 74 million visitors in 2023 to maintain its status as the country’s most visited destination. International visitation grew to more than 6 million international visitors, a 25% increase from 2022.

OUTLOOK

Growth is projected to slow over the next few quarters as elevated inflation weighs on consumer spending and uncertainty around future interest rate cuts dampens business investment. Annual growth in 2024 is forecast to be 2.1%, below the 2.5% recorded in 2023.

CURRENT BUSINESS SENTIMENT

PERFORMANCE & EXPECTATIONS

Area businesses responding to the Partnership’s Orlando Business Conditions Survey report strong performance. More than half (56%) of respondents in the three months ending May 2024 increased revenue in the last three months; a notably smaller share (37%) added staff as ongoing uncertainty continued to impact hiring decisions.

Expectations for the next three months are similarly upbeat, with two-thirds (66%) of businesses projecting increased revenue. Recent business performance is behind this optimism, cited by 28% of businesses as the main reason for their outlook.

OPPORTUNITIES

Securing new clients is seen as a major opportunity by area businesses, referenced by more than half (56%) of businesses in the three months ending May 2024. Some of these new clients are likely to come from the local Orlando market, also cited as a key opportunity.

Making internal improvements has decreased as a priority in recent months as businesses appear to make their way through efficiencies identified earlier in the year. Sector-specific opportunities are on the rise alongside reduced expectations of a major downturn, increasing 9 percentage points from the previous period.

MONTHLY INDICATORS