University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith is predicting that an early analysis of the Gulf oil disaster could cost the state $2.2 billion, and over 39,000 lost jobs.
Snaith also said about 39,000 jobs could be eliminated in coming weeks, as the leisure, hospitality and fishing industries retrench in the face of a decline in visitors. Florida's 12 percent unemployment rate already tops the national average.
"This is a punch that lands in Florida even while we're still on wobbly legs," Snaith said.
Meanwhile, yesterday Governor Charlie Crist took up Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's suggestion from over a month ago and activated Floridas Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide a cash flow to businesses that have been deleteriously affected by the problems in the Gulf.
Short-term loans of up to $25,000 will be given out to those affected by the spill in 26 Florida counties, including Pinellas, Hillsborough and Sarasota.
Though BP may be the responsible party, we will continue to help ourselves by being proactive in supporting Florida businesses and families, said Governor Crist. Providing a much-needed source of financial relief to our businesses will help secure Floridas future economy.