Economic Forecast 2023: Staffing, Downtown development, financial services, entertainment, commercial real estate and community development | Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record

Finding and retaining qualified workers remains among the top economic issues facing Northeast Florida business leaders in 2023, continuing their concerns through 2022.

Uncertainty, including the question of crisis, poses challenges.

Northeast Florida leaders offer their vision of how they plan to meet the challenges of the next 12 months.


Amy Glazer

Senior Vice President, Business Operations, Adeco Group

The primary economic issue facing the staffing industry is the gap between what workers want and expect, and what employers are offering.

Amy Glazer

The staffing industry is more than filling open roles.

Our work is not transactional, but focuses on how to support people working together as a whole, while helping organizations future-proof their talent pipeline.

This is a very important role in today’s economic uncertainty and rapidly changing world of work.

We want to make a meaningful, lasting impact on people’s career journeys, and ensure our clients stand the test of time as equals.

City development

Elias Heonides

Vice President, Petra

The primary economic issue facing urban development is the increase in capital and the cost of renovating historic buildings.

Elias Heonides

Downtown Jacksonville has a long way to go and this current trend has to go through higher prices.

Interest rate buying and continued reductions in construction materials and labor costs will be the strategies and factors we look forward to.

The number of residential units currently under construction will support further developments in retail, entertainment and hospitality over the next five years.

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My belief is that there is enough momentum to maintain high levels of growth despite changes in the macroeconomic landscape (and in Jacksonville as a whole).

Financial services

John Hirabashi

President and CEO, First Community Credit Union

A primary challenge facing the finance, credit union and banking industries is recruiting and retaining employees.

John Hirabashi

With today’s tough job market our entire industry faces this challenge, and Community First Credit Union is no exception.

Historically, our vacancy rate has been less than 5% of total budgeted positions. By 2022 it has grown to 8%.

On the employee retention front, we have historically retained 85% of our employees. By 2022 our rate has dropped to 74%.

To meet these challenges we have dedicated more resources to our recruitment efforts, hiring for cultural fit and alignment with the credit union’s purpose.

We invest a lot of time up front for new hires to learn their role and build relationships with their leadership and colleagues.

To ensure competitive salary and pay equity, we have evaluated all positions and made adjustments to be market competitive.

We implemented a 5% across-the-board COLA in May.

Most importantly, we educate our managers about the important role they play in maintaining direct reports.

The number one reason why employees stay or leave is whether they trust their boss and feel that this person has their best interests at heart.

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Tia Jeffers

Owner, Breezy Jazz House

The primary economic issue facing the entertainment industry is retaining quality employees and retaining repeat customers.

Tia Jeffers

As the world changes in the social media and online era, Breezy Jazz House is looking for new ways to keep our guests and staff engaged.

We have reduced our days of operation to allow for a work-life balance for our employees and still be able to provide a high-quality experience to our guests.

We’re offering more exclusives than ever, running new and exclusive weekly events, and bringing in artists from all over the world.

We also hold bi-monthly networking events to provide service outside of our routine, to help our guests grow in their business lives, as well as enjoy their entertainment.

This industry has taught me to be more flexible, surround myself with experts and change to improve.

Our goal is to continue to give our guests and staff the ultimate jazz experience.

Commercial real estate

Katie Kirchner

partners, strategic sites; 2023 President, NAIOP

The primary economic issue facing commercial real estate varies by sector and geography.

Katie Kirchner

However, across the board, all deals are affected by rising costs, supply chain issues and the unknowns in “ESG” – environmental, social and governance.

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Transaction costs are rising – goods, services and interest rates.

Negotiating deals with this uncertainty is difficult for both parties to the transaction.

We have to be more creative in structuring transactions.

Supply chain delays slow down building deliveries, which in turn delay closings and occupancy.

Setting realistic expectations about timing is critical to a successful transition.

Changing ESG regulations are forcing the industry to be flexible, fluid and creative in the development, purchase and leasing of commercial real estate.

Changing environmental regulations, societal changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in government regulations affecting taxes, laws and business requirements are affecting transactions.

The CRE industry has repeatedly shown its resilience. I am confident that our current climate is no different and CRE will continue to grow, thrive and be the backbone of the economy.

Community development

Mary Korashi

President, Jesse Ball DuPont Fund

The primary economic issue facing community development is inflation and its consequences on the people served by nonprofits and charities, as well as the rising costs of nonprofits providing services and value to the public.

Mary Korashi

Our industry takes on challenges through greater collaboration, which can sometimes (though not always) realize economies of scale, and by working hard to solve the above issues.

For example, many consumers are affected by rising electricity costs that are reflected in their utility bills.

Donors and nonprofits are looking for energy efficiency retrofits that may lower the cost of utility bills.


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