Volusia County Economic Report Card Shows Mixed Results
Construction activity and job growth are two of the most important measures of economic health, and for Volusia County, the third quarter of 2023 produced a mixed bag. The results were part of a presentation to the Volusia County Council earlier this month.
While residential building permit activity showed continued strength with 996 permits issued in the quarter ending Sept. 30, commercial permits lagged at 31, half of the number issued in the first quarter of the year.
On the commercial side of the construction equation, permit activity declined in the first three quarters of the year with most of the activity confined to Daytona Beach with eight permits, and Port Orange with 12. The 31 commercial building permits issued in the July to September quarter were less than half of the 63 issued during the same period in 2022.
Of the new construction during the quarter, the biggest piece of the pie – totaling $38 million in value – came from the storage, retail and other services category, while multifamily construction came in at $25 million. Leisure and hospitality activity totaled $5.5 million for the period.
On the brighter side, residential building permit activity was more evenly spread across the county, with Daytona Beach in the top spot with 256, followed by unincorporated Volusia County with 185, DeLand at 177, Deltona at 116 and Edgewater rounding out the Top 5 with 106 permits.
Employment and job growth offered a stronger case for solid growth, with the county’s available labor force up more than 4% year over year, compared to 3.4% statewide and 1.9% nationally. The county’s 3.4% unemployment rate was touted to the County Council by Cyrus Callum, acting economic development director.
“3.4% for Volusia County is still really good,” he said in response to a question from Councilmember David Santiago. “It’s been incrementally increasing, but 3.4% is an indication that where we are is very, very healthy.”
Callum said there is not a lot of commercial construction going on in the county, which accounts for the decline in permit activity.