Since 2010, Florida has witnessed a staggering population growth of nearly 10 percent and the fastest growing gross domestic product among the five most populated states in 2016. In addition to the state’s growing population, Florida had a record breaking number of tourists in 2017 totaling 116.5 million visitors.
Large numbers of annual visitors and new residents afford the state with unique opportunities to drive economic development and innovation. It is important across all of Florida’s traditional sectors to leverage knowledge, technology and support of both entrepreneurism and innovation for testing and growth of new concepts as well as innovative approaches to product and service design, creation and delivery.
Florida boasts a number of economic development accolades including the second best business climate, second best infrastructure, third best corporate tax environment, third best in startup activity, and third in workforce size. However, in the current global economy where technology and automation are becoming the backbone to every industry including tourism and agriculture, the state’s educational attainment remains lower than competitor regions and the national average.
Diversifying Florida’s economy is key to creating jobs and opportunities. It is crucial that Florida continue to build its core industries, tourism, agriculture, and construction while diversifying Florida’s economy into next generation targeted industries.
According to the Florida Chamber Foundation report, Florida Jobs 2030, in recent years, growth within these core industries has been complemented by gains in five of Florida’s eight targeted industry clusters, which include: aerospace and aviation; health care and life sciences; manufacturing; logistics and distribution; and financial and professional services. Together, these eight targeted industry clusters make up 30 percent of Florida’s jobs and over 40 percent of the gross state product.
As we look toward 2030 and beyond, Florida must continue to attract growing and innovative industries and new technologies that will allow Florida to lead the way in high-skill, high-wage job creation. Florida wins when we continue to diversify our base of job creators and work to attract and grow targeted high-wage industries.