July 18--More than 60 percent of business leaders plan to hire full-time workers in the next six to 12 months, according to a report this week by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce's Council of Economic Advisors.
"The optimism is still very high," said Richard Clark, chairman of the council.
Of the members, 63 percent said in a survey that they would hire 16 to 50 full-time workers over the next six to 12 months.
The council is a group of 29 leaders from varied industry sectors that gives regular feedback to the Federal Reserve. It said businesses are reinvesting in their real estate, particularly on Las Olas Boulevard.
Home remodeling retail operations are expanding, and hotels including the 261-room Courtyard by Marriott on Fort Lauderdale Beach are being renovated.
"You're seeing this continuing Renaissance in Fort Lauderdale," Clark said. "Broward is doing better than any of the counties around it."
Business leaders also said they expect to make additional investments in information technology, software and professional services.
But there were concerns that could stunt growth as well.
Ronald Finkelstein, principal in charge at Morrison, Brown, Argiz and Farra, a public accounting firm in Fort Lauderdale, said some county employment could be lost if corporate tax rates are not lowered to be more competitive with other countries.
He said Ireland and other low-tax countries or jurisdictions are appealing to local companies that now pay the highest U.S. corporate tax rate of 30 percent on worldwide profits.
"There's a whole host of businesses that have the ability to establish a workforce overseas," he said.
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