Will Orlando Push Miami Out as Florida's Most Economically Important Metro Area?

Categories: Recessionomics
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Back in 1987, writer T.D. Allman declared in the title of his book that Miami was "The City of the Future," and over the next two decades, our metropolitan area largely made good on the moniker through impressive growth and increasing economic importance. Twenty-four years later, though, Miami is looking like the city of the past, and now analysts point to signs that Orlando might be Florida's new growth capital and might someday be the economic heavyweight of the state.

Today newswire Reuters is carrying a story proclaiming Orlando the new city of the future and a glimmer of light in Florida's troubled dark economy. The story declares that O-town is "poised to push aside Miami as the state's fastest-growing metropolis for at least a generation."

Just as we know it's silly to write off Miami as just a town of beach resorts, nightclubs, and good Cuban food, it's a mistake to view Orlando as just that landlocked Mickey Mouse town four hours north.

"People think I'm gushing about Orlando," Mark Vitner, senior economist specializing in regional economies for Wells Fargo Securities LLC, tells Reuters. "But I've got to believe the city will be one of the fastest-growing cities in the country over the next 25 years."

According to various economic indicators, Orlando's economy is now the strongest in the state, and job growth in the area is picking up faster than any other area in Florida. In fact, the metro area represented nearly half the job growth in Florida between February 2010 and 2011.

Orlando might also be better poised than South Florida to take advantage of growth in the biomedical and technology industries:
Orlando's economy is becoming more diverse than Miami's, according to Vitner. It has greater ties to the global economy compared to Miami, which is primarily a conduit to business in Latin America.
Reuters may be a bit quick to dismiss Miami's ties to Latin America, especially as that area's economy continues to grow, but Orlando might have its economic eggs better spread over various baskets. It also has more opportunities for development and growth.

Growth in Orlando will affect South Florida as the two metro areas vie for political and economic power in the state. It might be a long time, if ever, before Orlando (which has a metropolitan population of about 2 million compared to South Florida's 5.5 million) pushes the larger Miami metropolitan region out of Florida dominance, but it appears the area is already doing the heavy lifting in getting the state's economy back on track.

Orlando's growth doesn't necessarily mean doom for Miami, though. It's not an either-or game. However, if Orlando is looking to become the city of the future, Miami has to make sure it doesn't become the city of the past.

[Reuters: Orlando economy pushes to head of line in Florida]

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7 comments
Matthew Earl
Matthew Earl

I can believe this in many ways. During the 1980s, Miami actually was on the rise as a dominant center for economical reasons. Fast forward to 2011 and you have a bunch of ugly half empty condos that are littered throughout the downtown skyline, lack of diversity, lack of amenities (compared to Orlando), lack of culture, hardly any "green" technologies are put to use down there, terrible crime, terrible drivers, immense poverty, mortgage frauds, still terrible racism, an oppressed poor community, an inadequate school system, a half-assed transit system (while Orlando is getting a speeding bullet train), very few Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 companies choose to do business there because of the language barriers, a third world government and police force, lack of music scenes, very rude people make it unbearable to do anything there, hardly any English is spoken and the fact that Miami is geographically isolated from everything except the Carribean. Miami is no better than it was in 1987. In fact, it is worse. The so-called "Magic City" is about as magic as a box of crayons. The real truth is, Miami is a wasteland city that is now on the decline. Just recently, Forbes ranked Miami as the 2nd most miserable city in the US. Orlando is growing like crazy and I can definitely see it surpassing Miami in the next 5 years maybe. Even Jacksonville,Tampa and Tallahassee (yes I said Tallahassee) are way ahead of Miami. More businesses are investing in central Florida than they are in south Florida. Miami is a city of the past that has gone through its phases and now it is a ship sinking. I believe I read on here the city could lose over $1 billion over the next decade? Not good at all. Miami's "glory" days are done and now the city is filled with idiots that are going to run that place into the ground.

Cecilia333
Cecilia333

Mathew, I have no idea where you live. I live in Miami and lived in Orlando for 9 years. Julian is completely correct, let me add some other points. I am a Realtor, now I work and live in Miami, I was also a Realtor in Orlando. Miami will always have the advantage of it's location, close to Latin America. Every week, my office alone sells between 19,000,000 to 25,000,000 dollars in real estate. Thanks to the Latin America investors, coming mostly from Venezuela, Mexico and Brazil, our real estate market is recovering, as well as our economy. The advantage of Miami's weather and our beautiful beaches is something Orlando will NEVER have. Orlando survives because of "Mickey". It's still very hard to get a good job in Orlando. Orlando wasn't used to having condos, in the 90's they went crazy and built too many and now they are stuck with them. Believe me when I say, their real estate market will take between 2 to 3 times longer than Miami to recover. About racism, I experienced the most horrible treatment in Orlando, having the personality I have, I didn't pay much attention to the rednecks wo happen to be very ignorant. Only in Orlando have I met the most hypocritical "good" Baptists. All of them wanted to convert me (a Catholic) and my husband (a Jew), because their religion is better than ours. Let me finish with: It's fun to live in a place where the rest of the world dreams of vacationing - Miami.

Julian Munoz
Julian Munoz

Let me go one by one -

Those downtown condos are now 85% occupied as of February. Downtown Miami's population skyrocketed according to the 2010 census. The investments and growth in business the last 5 years alone has been truly remarkable. Have you been downtown lately?! Are you seriously going to deny the change and improvement from just 2005!Diversity? Don't kid yourslef.What could you mean by lack of amenities? Are those theme parks really being missed down here? I don't think so. Those theme parks are what people brag about in Orlando as culture. With events like Art Basel, Miami Book Fair International, MIFF, Ultra, WMC, SoBe Food and Wine Festival, brand new PAC, New World Symphony Center, burgeoning art districts and communities in Wynwood and the Design District - you'd have to be crazy to deny our cities culture. But even before this resurgence of the arts in Miami, the hustle and bustle of Little Havana or the Haitian procession for a Catholic saint were proof enough of a raw and beautiful culture. As for a music scene, you should probably read this website a little more. Take a ride to Sweat Records or check out a show at Churchill's or Transit Lounge.As for transit. That high speed train in Orlando isn't happening, thanks to our governor. That train was just phase one of what was intended to be a high speed rail line to reach Miami. Miami was the holy grail of the plan. But even without it, Miami has the most advanced transit system in our backwards state. One of the few cities in the US with a heavy rail line (Metrorail). A 70 mile commuter train line (Tri-Rail). Currently an expansion of metro-rail to the airport and the construction of an intermodel center is already under construction connecting Tri-Rail, Metrorail, Amtrak and the counties busses right next to MIA. Orlando has nothing! Just an even shittier bus network than us.This post is getting too long but let me just say this. Crime is lower than it's been at any point in the last 30 years and Orlando has had a higher crime and murder rate for several years now. The population of the city of Miami itself in 2010 grew at a rate not seen since the 1970's. Traffic is bad, but even Orlando has worse traffic and an equal amount of road rage - not to mention Atlanta, Houston, LA, DC, ect. Businesses haven't stop coming to town. UM is building a life science park for a reason. Over a million sq. ft of office has been added to downtown in 2011 alone for a reason.When it comes to population, the city of Orlando is still the size of Hialeah and its entire metropolitan area (4 counties) is still the size of Miami-Dade County alone! Orlando won't pass Miami in any regards anytime soon. Just this month FDI Intelligence, a division of the Fiancial Times called Miami one of the top 10 cities of the future - Miami is still a growing world business center.

Matthew Earl
Matthew Earl

We're not talking about beaches here now are we? I thought we were discussing who is more economically important not which is more "glamorous". Yes, Miami does indeed attract a lot of wealthy Latin American business operations I will admit but what about everyone else? And you want to talk about beautiful weather? Miami is HOT and HOTTER for 10 months out of the year. That is NOT beautiful weather that is miserable. I prefer seasons for my liking. Miami is the only place in the US where it can be 85 degrees on Christmas day. I might be biased here because I am not a big fan of hot weather and humidity. IMO the best weather in Florida is in North Florida because of the changing of the seasons. The leaves change color and its beautiful to see. North FL is also a distant drive to Atlanta, New Orleans, Birmingham, etc. Sorry, but South FL is too secluded for me. As for the "rednecks" in Orlando, look around Miami you will find plenty of rednecks there particularly in the cuban community. Go to Homestead, Davie and Cooper City and you will be amazed by how many big wheel 4x4 trucks with confederate flags you see. And you are claiming that your religion (Catholic) is more superior to everyone elses. Why is that? I rest my case here.

Matthew Earl
Matthew Earl

Let me say this again. Forbes ranked Miami the 2nd most miserable city as of 2011. It was ranked the 6th in 2010 and 9th in 2009. Obviously, there is a trend going on here: Miami is getting worse. I was born and raised in Miami and I cannot think of a worse city to live in. I am currently in Tallahassee, and you should know there are A LOT of South FL transplants moving here for the same reason. Tallahassee is currently the fastest growing city in Florida and also the most educated (over 50% of the population has a college degree). As for diversity, honestly, Miami was more diverse in say 1995 than it is now. What I see of Miami now is a large, homogeneous, dominant, Latin population. Miami is a city for the hispanic people by the hispanic people and no one else. You call that diversity? When I think of diversity I think of everyone: black, white, brown and yellow. Miami's anglo population is practically all gone and Miami's black community is still the most oppressed community in the entire city. Poverty is still rampant, crime is still bad, racism is never ending, traffic is worse, the school system sucks, the police force is the most irresponsible department I have ever seen, and yes a lousy transit system. Miami is finding its way down the drain in a hurry. As for education, half the population there can't even speak a lick of English. That makes it very hard for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies to do business down there. The only Fortune 500 companies down there are Burger King and Ryder from what I understand. Orlando is definitely going to surpass Miami sooner or later as far as economic growth goes. Hell, I even see Jacksonville and Tampa in that same boat. From what I see, Miami is secluded from the rest of the state because of its geographical location: it is so damn far south in a swamp. Oh, yeah, about the music scene. Tell me, how many goths, emo, punk, rappers, rockers, jazz musicians do you see in Miami? The only music "scenes" I see down there are reggaeton, techno and latin salsa music. Miami is not exactly LA when it comes to music or culture. Oh, then there is the crime. A murder a day down there from what I see on the news. Every other month it seems like a Miami cop shoots another innocent person now. Lets be honest here, Miami is not a very progressive city and in fact it is a regressive city with regressive people. Then you have the terrible school system. Please, don't even get me started on this. The amount of racism down there is still as bad as it was in the 80's maybe even worse. People are more ruder than ever and extremely obnoxious. You couldn't pay me to live down there anymore I have gotten so fed up with Miami I had to transfer schools. I may be only 21 but I am old enough to understand the problems and issues Miami faces and has faced. I can't help but say Miami is in a deep pile of shit right now.

bigmoemiami
bigmoemiami

I think the lack of cultural diversity is as a result of your own doing Matthew, you like many Anglos couldn't handle diverse cultures so you split.  It is unfortunate that so many Anglos have chosen to pick up and leave a beautiful place like Miami because they could not work with people who are different.  There are many, however, who made an effort to learn Spanish and otherwise assimilate into the reality of the large Hispanic influx that Miami has seen in the past decades, and they are much the better for it, they have enriched their lives and become a part of something that is vibrant and strong. Much of what has made Miami a world class city for international business can be attributed to this Latin wave, and many smart Anglos have embraced it and gotten rich as a result. Miami was hit hard as a result of the financial meltdown as a premiere sub prime mortgage market, but things are starting to turn around, and given all the fantastic attributes Miami offers, it won't be long till Miami is back on top as the premiere city in Florida and possibly the Southeast. 

Julian Munoz
Julian Munoz

You're just not being logical here. High unemployment and foreclosure rates would make any city miserable. Don't put so much emphasis on Forbes or any magazine. That's true about Miami though, were still in a rut with high unemployment and the crashed housing market - but it doesn't define the city. I'm currently going to college in Jacksonville, the segregation, the crime, the murders and corruption are a way of life in American cities. Jacksonville and Orlando both have higher murder rates than Miami. Orlando has a higher crime rate as well.If you want to classify almost two dozen different countries and cultures as a single monolithic group, then go at it. The cultures, religions and lifestyles are what diversity is about. Again, don't kid yourself.I'm glad South Florida is not growing as fast as it used to. That would be crazy, but in the 2010 census the City of Miami itself grew faster than ever in the last 40 years. That's because of the move to the urban center, the condo boom and the renewed interest. Miami has 2 F500 companies headquartered here, and 4 in South Florida. Ryder and World Fuel Service. But Miami continues to grow with its international financing and trading. The number of foreign banks in Miami is still unprecedented. Because of its connection to Latin America, the biggest companies in the world settle here and operate their business for an entire continent. Microsoft, American Airlines, Nokia, Exxon, Disney, FedEx, Yahoo, Sony, Visa and a bunch of other have their South/Latin American operations headquartered in Miami. Headquarters for one of the fastest developing economic regions in the world is no joke.Again about the music, do you read this website at all? It covers the music scene pretty extensively. It's not huge, but it's growing and exciting. Like I said, check out Sweat Records. These are some of the bands/artist - Lil Daggers, ANR, Rachel Goodrich, Beings, Deaf Poets, Animal Tropical, Jacuzzi Boys, The State Of, Artofficial - check them all out. There's a lot more and the "scene" down here is just growing and maturing by the minute.The rest of your post is the usual blind statements about crime and the people down there. I know some of the shortcomings of Miami. The racial tension, the crime and corruption. But they don't overbear what the city is. I'm just 20, we're nearly the same age. I'm also going to college in North Florida (Jax), and I'm in Gainesville and Tallahassee all the time. I can't wait to move back to Miami.

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