Florida is Now Top 10 in the Nation for Manufacturing Employment- Learn What Florida Is Doing to Advocate for Florida Reaching Top 5

Carolyn Johnson presenting during the Florida Chamber of Commerce Legislative Fly-In in Tallahassee.

Special thanks to FloridaMakes for leading this important goal


By: Carolyn Johnson, Vice President of Government Affairs, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Recently, the Florida Chamber Foundation announced Florida is now a top 10 state for manufacturing jobs, surpassing New York, and is on the path toward achieving the 2030 Blueprint goal of being in the top 5. From the 1989 Cornerstone report titled Enterprise Florida to the Florida Trade & Logistics 2030 Study, the Florida Chamber Foundation has recognized that the manufacturing sector offers high-wage, high-skill jobs and has a multiplier effect on Florida’s economy. Over the last decade, the Florida Chamber has been successful in urging the state to incentivize the growth of the manufacturing industry, but there’s more work to be done.

Removing barriers to capital investment

In 2013, the Florida Legislature created a three-year sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment used within Florida to manufacture, process, compound, or produce tangible goods for sale. This exemption was made permanent in 2016. The Florida Chamber-backed sales tax exemption proved to be a valuable tool to promote manufacturing, led to increased investment at a reduced cost, and improved the competitiveness of Florida’s manufacturing sector relative to other states.  More work can still be done, such as fully eliminating the business rent tax or reducing or eliminating tangible personal property taxes at the local level.

Increasing research and development

The Florida Chamber supported the creation of the state research and development (R&D) tax credit in 2011 and was instrumental in its expansion in 2015 to ensure more qualified businesses are eligible to receive this tax credit. The manufacturing industry is the largest industry that benefits from both federal and state research and development tax credits. The Florida Chamber is focused on increasing the dollar amount of R&D tax credits available as the program has been oversubscribed since its inception.

Building the right talent pool

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has consistently supported legislation to support increased workforce training opportunities in Florida. This includes support for a major workforce package during the 2023 session, which increased funding for the Workforce Development Capitalization Grant. Since its passage, the increased funding has supported projects and workforce education opportunities that support semiconductor manufacturing, advanced packaging, and research and development within the military, defense, and space industries.

These strategic investments function to expand Florida’s manufacturing capabilities and strengthen Florida’s supply chain while creating high-demand, high-wage jobs for Floridians. Florida is already #5 in the nation for semiconductor manufacturing jobs and #3 for semiconductor establishments. These investments will help Florida continue to grow its semiconductor industry.

Making Manufacturing a State Priority

 The Florida Trade & Logistics 2030 Study made a number of recommendations to enhance the Florida’s focus on manufacturing. The Manufacturing and Supply Chain Caucus was formed by members of the legislature in 2021, but there are still opportunities to realign and reenergize the work of state agencies around moving and making more goods. One overarching strategy is to create a senior-level Chief Manufacturing Officer who is located in the Department of Commerce (FloridaCommerce) or in the Executive to coordinate manufacturing opportunities and state policies.

These are just a few examples of how the Florida Chamber is focused on making Florida more competitive, while advancing manufacturing jobs in the state. To learn more, please feel free to contact me at cjohnson@flchamber.com.

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