Florida, Arizona, California and Nevada — the four states hit hardest by the housing bust — are now leading the national job recovery, BusinessWeek reported.
The four states added 222,100 jobs between August and December, and accounted for 28 percent of U.S. employment gains during that period.
While the four states do still have higher unemployment rates than the national average, by year’s end Moody’s Analytics expects them to close the gap significantly. It projects Florida’s unemployment rate to drop a full percentage point to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, bringing it closer to the national forecast calls for a drop to 8.2 percent from 8.3 percent.
“There has been a shift,” said Jan Hatzius, chief economist of Goldman Sachs. “I think it says the balance sheet damage that was really responsible for the weakness is really beginning to be repaired.”
Florida is benefiting from the broader national recovery. Housing is no longer dragging down the economy and tourists are flocking to the state, according to experts cited by BusinessWeek. [BusinessWeek]