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

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

Finding and keeping qualified workers remains among the primary economic issues facing Northeast Florida business leaders in 2023, continuing their concerns from 2022.

Uncertainty, including the question of a recession, underlies the challenges.

Northeast Florida leaders offer their insight into how they plan to take on the challenges of the next 12 months.


Amy Glaser

Senior Vice President of Business Operations, The Adecco Group

The primary economic issue facing the staffing industry is the gap between what workers desire and expect, and what employers are able to offer.

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

Amy Glaser

The staffing industry is much more than filling open roles.

Our work isn’t transactional, but instead focuses on how to holistically support the employability of people, while also helping organizations future-proof their talent pipeline.

This is a particularly crucial role amid today’s economic uncertainty and the rapidly changing world of work.

We want to make meaningful, lasting impacts on people’s career journeys, and ensure our customers are equally primed to stand the test of time.


Elias Hionides

Vice President, Petra

The primary economic issue facing Downtown development is the rising cost of capital and cost of renovations of historic buildings. 

Elias Hionides

Downtown Jacksonville has a long runway and this current run should last through rising rates.

Interest rate buydowns and the continued reduction in the costs of construction materials and labor will be strategies and factors we see moving forward.

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

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


John Hirabayashi

President and CEO, Community First Credit Union

The primary challenge facing the finance, credit union and banking industry is hiring and retaining staff.

John Hirabayashi

With today’s tight labor market our entire industry is dealing with this challenge, and Community First Credit Union is no exception.

Historically, our percentage of vacant positions has held under 5% of total budgeted positions. In 2022 this has trended up to 8%.

On the employee retention front, we’ve historically retained 85% of employees. In 2022 our rate has decreased to 74%.

To address these challenges we’ve devoted more resources to our recruiting efforts, hiring for cultural fit and alignment with the credit union’s purpose.

We’re investing more time up front for new hires to learn their roles and develop relationships with their leadership and co-workers.

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

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

Most importantly, we are coaching our managers on the critical role they play in retaining their direct reports. 

The No. 1 reason why employees stay or leave is whether they trust their boss and feel as though that person is looking out for their best interests.


Thea Jeffers

Owner, Breezy Jazz House

The primary economic issue facing the entertainment industry is retaining quality staff and keeping consistent repeat clientele. 

Thea Jeffers

As the world changes to a social media and online era, Breezy Jazz House has been diligent in finding new ways to keep our guests and staff engaged.

We have downsized our days of operation to allow more work-life balance for our staff and still be able to provide higher quality experiences for our guests.

We’re offering more specials than ever, executing new and unique weekly events, and bringing out artists from all over the world.

We also hold two monthly networking events to provide a service beyond our usual, to help our guests grow in their business lives, as well as their entertainment enjoyment.

This industry has taught me to be very flexible, surround myself with experts and embrace the change to move forward.

Our goal is to continue giving our guests, and staff, the Ultimate Jazz Experience.


Katie Kirchner

Partner, 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 transactions are impacted by rising costs, supply chain issues and unknowns in “ESG” — environmental, social and governance.

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

Negotiating deals with these uncertainties is difficult for both sides of a transaction.

We must be more creative in structuring transactions.

Supply chain delays are slowing delivery of buildings, which in turn delays closings and occupancy.

Setting realistic expectations regarding timing is critical to a successful transaction.

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, social changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in governmental regulations that affect taxes, laws and business requirements are affecting transactions.

The CRE Industry has demonstrated its resiliency time and again. I am confident that our current climate is no different and CRE will continue to grow, thrive and be a cornerstone of the economy.


Mari Kuraishi

President, Jessie Ball duPont Fund

The primary economic issue facing community development is inflation and its consequences on the people served by nonprofits and philanthropies, as well as the increased cost to nonprofits to deliver services and value to those people. 

Mari Kuraishi

Our industry is taking on the challenge through increased collaboration, which can sometimes (though not always) realize economies of scale, and by working harder to address issues upstream.

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

Funders and nonprofits are exploring energy efficiency retrofits that might bring down the cost of the utility bills. 


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