From the Captain's Chair: Economic Insights
Summer is officially underway in South Florida. I personally kicked off the season with the most traditional of summer activities – a family road trip. I won’t bore you with the details of our extended drive that took my family and our chocolate Lab, Hank from Florida to Montana and back. What I do want to share are the economic insights garnered during my time on the road.
Forward-Focused Leaders Make the Difference
Throughout the past 16 months, Floridians were fortunate to have elected officials who focused on the physical and economic health of the Sunshine State. At local, county, and state levels, the men and women appointed and elected to office managed the pandemic by balancing a respect for science with common sense. They paid particular attention to keeping our economy viable and open, despite the circumstances. These elected leaders made decisions that were not always popular across the board. But they were decisions that proved beneficial to our overall financial and commercial well-being.
The same cannot be said about other states’ approach to managing COVID-19. As I made my way across the likes of Tennessee and Illinois, the lasting impact of the pandemic was apparent. Shuttered hotels, businesses operating at half-capacity, restaurants closed all created an atmosphere of economic devastation. Entire communities appeared to be very slowly waking up from a deep and involuntary detrimental sleep. The adverse impact on these local economies was obvious.
Not all states fared that poorly, though. The heavily agricultural areas, like South Dakota, weathered the storm much better. These states that feed the rest of the U.S. remained open during the crisis, led by forward-thinking government leaders and elected officials who recognized the need to make economic decisions based on a balance of science and common sense.
Seeing the contrasts across states made me appreciate Florida’s approach to managing the ups and downs since COVID-19 erupted in early 2020. Because of local and state leaders with vision and the tenacity to do the right thing (even if not popular at the time), our economy remained open and moves toward a return to normal.
Marine Industry Fuels Economic Growth
A new report out by the U.S. Department of Commerce confirmed what we in the South Florida marine community have experienced first-hand. The first official Marine Economy Satellite Account study, released in June by the Department of Commerce, found that America’s marine economy contributed nearly $400 billion and accounted for 1.9% of the national gross domestic product in 2019, outpacing all other industries. The study also noted that the marine economy grew faster than the nation’s overall economy.
Some other impressive numbers from the study, include:
Marine-related gross domestic product grew 4.2% from 2018 to 2019, faster than the 2.2% growth of the total U.S. gross domestic product as measured in inflation-adjusted dollars.
Businesses included in the report generated a total of $665.7 billion in sales and supported 2.4 million jobs in 2019.
Here in South Florida, we’re witnessing 35 – 40% business growth last year. This is due, in no small part, to our industry’s unwavering focus on total customer satisfaction. Every business in our industry must continue to ensure an exceptional experience to boat owners at every step of the boating journey – from the initial sale to full refits and every stage in between.
We’ve done a great job so far. We must continue to maintain this position to further build on our success.
This month the new board members to the MIASF joined the retiring board members and MIASF’s local lobbyist at Il Paesano’s for a transition dinner and board meeting. Serving as introduction of the new members and an opportunity to network and discuss current issues the informal event provides an effective transition to the new year.
Over the years, the MIASF has been blessed with great boards filled with diverse professionals representing an impressive cross-section of South Florida businesses. Entrepreneurs, business leaders, and individuals from all facets of the marine industry (sales, service, brokerage, and yards) have dedicated their time, energy, and expertise to furthering MIASF goals.
Having these types of individuals serving on our board adds credibility and strengthens our seat at every table. We look forward to working together to accomplish much in the coming year.