So far, it is shaping up to be a great summer for the Volusia County economy, providing hope employers can feel more comfortable with taking some risks and workers will start seeing more opportunities for jobs and wage increases.
One of the most encouraging reports was the number of initial claims for unemployment compensation in June. At 1,368, it was down 26.8 percent from 1,868 in June 2012 and the lowest level since June 2007.
Six years of the biggest economic debacle since the Great Depression and a mercilessly slow recovery is more than enough for Americans and Volusians.
Further evidence of a strong economy in 2013 was the May bed tax collections report, up 9.6 percent from May 2012. All three of the county's advertising authority districts were up, showing tourism and business travel improvement was widespread.
In April, taxable retail sales were up 5.5 percent from April 2012 in Volusia. Auto sales, general merchandise stores, restaurants and even building supplies all recorded strong increases. The increase in building supply sales shows construction is on definitely on the rebound.
There could still be some hiccups along the way, and federal, state and local government will continue to struggle, even as the need for more prudent regulation remains. But what we're seeing in 2013 shows we can finally put the Great Recession in the rearview mirror.
Coming off its announcement of a $400-million rebuild of the grandstands at its most famous track, International Speedway Corp. reported a sharp increase in net profit in its second quarter, ended May 31. The owner of Daytona International Speedway and 12 other tracks that feature NASCAR racing had a slight decline in revenue at $178.4 million compared to $179.6 million in the second quarter of 2012. Last year it was paying off a large amount of debt, so it realized $22.4 million in net income, compared to $13.7 million in 2012.
The improving national economy is helping ISC. "While consumer-related revenues at our events to-date generated mixed results, in part due to inclement weather, we remain optimistic that the economy is poised for stronger growth, which will benefit our fans," ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy said in a news release.
With four apartment complexes going up in the county, you'd think that would be enough for now. But, no, businessman Lowell Lohman wants to build Eagle Landing, a 144-unit complex between Nova Road and Clyde Morris Boulevard, just south of Bellevue Avenue.
Small commercial construction projects continue to proliferate throughout the county. In DeBary, construction has started on a Dollar General store; in Ormond Beach, remodeling has begun for a Trustco Bank; in New Smyrna Beach, residential construction has started at New Smyrna Marina; and in Daytona Beach, remodeling started for yet another restaurant at 512 Seabreeze Blvd. and for one of Gymboree Co.'s Crazy 8 stores at Volusia Mall.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 16 years. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.