Hank Fishkind

 

He’s an economist who researches and forecasts Florida’s economy. Fishkind, 59, has offices in Orlando, Naples and Port St. Lucie. 




This is going to be a lengthy recession, and it will end in 2009. There will be no meaningful recovery until 2010 in the U.S. economy.

I think whoever is elected president will propose—and Congress will pass—another stimulus package that will go into effect the winter or spring of 2009.

I thought after we saw Bear Sterns [collapse] that was going to be the end of [the financial crisis]. 

Since January, existing home sales have basically been unchanged, so that is evidence of the bottom here in Florida. And prices certainly in the last six months have consolidated. There hasn’t been that much price decline except in Lake County.

Who’s my favorite culprit for this mess? Look in the mirror. It’s all of us.

We are still quite dependent upon tourism, business meetings and conventions, and the ability of people to move into Central Florida. . . . If we had more defense contracting and high technology we might be better off. We’ve made great strides but we’re not there yet.

My crystal ball tells me it’s going to be the worst Christmas season since 1980-81 in terms of the pullback in consumer spending.

I try never to be political in any interview.  I will say that typically when the unemployment rate is increasing and the economy is in recession the party that is in power loses.

Those who have capital and cash will find great opportunity. Some of the biggest fortunes are made in the bottoms of cycles. Buying stock, buying land, investing in companies, all of those things—people who have capital will do well.

There are other shoes that are going to drop. There’s no doubt about that. The next big shoe once we get past the financial panic, we’re going to see a wave of failures of commercial banks that have made bad commercial loans.

It’s useful to have perspective: Most people continue to work, by far. Most people continue to service their debts. And the banking system, despite the awful things that have happened, is still functioning. When you still stick that little piece of plastic into some funny machine, money comes out of it. The world is still working. That’s important, because this is a dire set of conditions we’re under. But the institutions that we put in place since the Great Depression are protecting us from the Great Depression again, so far.

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