Florida population growth continues

Florida continues to grow as it attracts people from other parts of the U.S., but that growth is projected to slow in the coming years as groups that have been moving to Florida in droves get older, according to state economists.

The Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research released a report this week that showed the state’s estimated population in April was 22,634,867, an increase of nearly 359,000 people, or 1.61%, from a year earlier.

The increase was bolstered by the number of people moving to Florida from elsewhere in the U.S. being “the highest number it’s ever been,” according to Stefan Rayer, population program director with the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.

“Population growth is still growing strong in the state. Slightly more than the year before, but still, if you compare long-term averages which have been just under 300,000, it’s been really remarkably strong,” Rayer said during a Nov. 28 meeting that led to this week’s report. Tampa Bay Business Journal

Feds take big step to develop Memphis-Nashville-Atlanta passenger rail line

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has granted the State of Tennessee $500,000 to join the Corridor ID program to develop a passenger rail from Memphis to Atlanta, according to an announcement from Rep. Steve Cohen’s office. The proposed line would connect Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, with additional stops along the way.

It’s the first step toward making a long-sought rail line between Tennessee’s biggest cities a reality. The Corridor ID program — created by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and run by the U.S. Department of Transportation — was designed to create more intercity rail nationwide.

The grant will allow a study to be undertaken to understand the scope, schedule, and cost estimate of a potential rail line. The study would include stops, frequencies, financial plans, and more. The feds will foot the entire bill of the first step. Memphis Business Journal

Humanity’s Future or an Unwelcome Interloper: SpaceX’s Starbase Transforms a Corner of Texas

BROWNSVILLE, Texas—Elon Musk’s space company is blasting off the world’s most powerful rockets in this corner of Texas—and remaking it along the way.

Supporters say SpaceX’s Starbase represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the course of Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley, which has long struggled with poverty.

Others say Starbase is damaging the environment and hindering their usual ways of life, including easy visits to Boca Chica Beach.

Pretty much everyone agrees on one thing: Starbase is disruptive.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, has said the company employed more than 1,800 people at Starbase, jobs that supported thousands of others, and that it was proud to be an active part of the community. It didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“There are certain things that happen in a community that are considered generational or transformational. This is definitely one of them,” said Eddie Treviño Jr., the top elected official for Cameron County, which hosts Starbase.

Starbase exists so SpaceX can manufacture and launch Starships, vehicles that underpin the company’s future and Musk’s plan to send people to Mars. The Wall Street Journal

Biden-Harris Administration Designates 31 Tech Hubs Across America

WASHINGTON, DC — The Biden-Harris administration, through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), today announced the designation of 31 Tech Hubs in regions across the country. This is the first phase of the new Tech Hubs program, which is an economic development initiative designed to drive regional innovation and job creation by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy technology that will advance American competitiveness.  The program invests directly in burgeoning, high-potential U.S. regions and aims to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers. Greater Richmond Partnership

Mexico “rejects” Texas’ proposal to allow state police to deport undocumented immigrants

The Mexican government on Wednesday responded to the Texas Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 4 — which creates a state crime for entering the state illegally from Mexico and allows state and local authorities to deport undocumented immigrants — saying it “categorically rejects” Texas’ latest proposal to arrest and deport immigrants to Mexico.

“The Government of Mexico reiterates its rejection of any measure that contemplates the involuntary return of migrants without respect for due process,” says the statement from Mexico’s secretary of foreign relations.

It added that Mexico, “recognizes the sovereign right of any country to decide the public policies that should be implemented in its territory,” but Mexico also has a right to defend the estimated 10 million people of Mexican origin in Texas and “establish its own immigration policies in its territory.”

“The Government of Mexico categorically rejects any measure that allows state or local authorities to detain and return nationals or foreigners to Mexican territory,” the statement says. Texas Tribune

Retiree surplus still near two million, years after Covid

More than three-and-a-half years after COVID struck, the US still has around 2 million more retirees than predicted, in one of the most striking and enduring changes to the nation’s labor force.

The so-called Great Retirement induced by COVID-19 is evident in the divergence between the actual number of retirees and that predicted by a Federal Reserve economic model. While down from a 2.8 million gap late last year, it remains elevated today and has even risen from 1.7 million in June.

“While the gap seemed to be closing earlier in the year, it seems to have widened slightly since then,” said Miguel Faria-e-Castro, economic policy adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “As of September, we estimate about 1.98 million excess retirees. Dallas Morning News

Gov. Ivey: Alabama’s rural developers making remarkable progress

PRATTVILLE, Alabama — Economic developers from rural communities across Alabama were urged Wednesday to keep their winning streak going at the 2023 RurAL Summit sponsored by the Alabama Department of Commerce and held at the Central Alabama Community College.

Since 2020, the state’s rural counties have attracted over $4 billion in new capital investment through a series of economic development projects expected to create more than 5,400 jobs, according to Commerce estimates.

Last year alone, new projects landing in Alabama’s “targeted,” or rural counties will bring $1.8 billion in new investment and 1,900 jobs to communities such as Courtland, Selma, Greenville, Fayette and Cusseta.

Governor Kay Ivey, a native of Wilcox County, told the economic developers gathered at the Summit that she is committed to helping spur growth across all of Alabama, particularly in the state’s rural areas. MadeInAlabama.com

Foreign investment in China goes negative for first time in decades

Foreign investment into China turned negative for the first time on record in the third quarter.

Why it matters: The outflow of foreign direct investment, or FDI, is a reflection of the sharp deterioration in China’s economic prospects. The world’s second-largest economy continues to struggle with a sluggish COVID recovery, a deterioration in consumer and business confidence, and ongoing de-coupling and de-globalization trends.

State of play: A broad measure of FDI published by China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Friday showed an outflow of $11.8 billion in the third quarter, the first negative print since the agency began compiling the data in 1998.

What they’re saying: “Some of the weakness in China’s inward FDI may be due to multinational companies repatriating earnings,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote. Axios

China’s Exports Tumble Again in Fresh Sign of Economic Trouble

China’s exports fell for the sixth straight month, adding to pressure on Beijing to boost spending at home as a big rise in global interest rates and wars in Ukraine and the Middle East weigh on the world economy.

The figures add to signs the Chinese economy is still facing difficulties despite a recent pickup in growth. Though officials have expanded stimulus in recent weeks, reflected in a rise in imports, economists say that Beijing will need to do more in the final months of the year to prevent another slowdown as a drawn-out property slump squeezes investment and consumer spending.

Chinese exports fell 6.4% in October compared with a year earlier, to $275 billion, China’s General Administration of Customs said Tuesday, a steeper decline than the 6.2% fall recorded in September. The Wall Street Journal

Americans say the economy stinks. But they’re spending like it’s great

There’s a conundrum that economists and political strategists have been chewing on for more than a year: The economy is good, but Americans say it’s lousy.

Despite all kinds of positive news on inflation (it’s slowing), the job market (best in a generation) and consumer spending (still robust!), Americans can’t seem to shake their despair, at least whenever they answer calls from pollsters.

In a CNN poll released Tuesday night, 72% of all Americans say things in the country today are going badly, and 66% said the economy will be “extremely important” when deciding who to vote for next year.

But just 2% of voters say the economy is excellent, according to a separate New York Times-Siena College poll released earlier this week. That could be a big problem for Democrats trying to peddle Bidenomics. (although Democrats put up a pretty strong showing in Tuesday’s elections.) CNN Business