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Approximately Five Percent of Florida’s $800 Billion Economy Consists of Manufacturing

Approximately five percent of Florida’s $800 billion economy consists of manufacturing? That figure, relatively stable throughout the past 10 years, nationally ranks the Sunshine State 47 in manufacturing’s share of economic activity – a ranking that Florida is working to improve on.

Today’s modern manufacturing is far removed from the images of dirty assembly lines and smoke-filled die-cutting plants. Instead, today’s manufacturing industry is highly technical, provides higher-than-average wages and requires a highly-skilled workforce.

In fact:

The health of Florida’s manufacturing industry is inextricably tied to our growth in other industry sectors – especially international trade. A healthy, robust and growing manufacturing sector is a key component to growing Florida’s position as a global hub. As larger ships consider where to dock, our ability to fill those ships will be one of the fundamental considerations to whether those ships dock in one of Florida’s 15 seaports or somewhere else on the Atlantic seaboard. Florida’s geographic advantage and numerous trade and logistics assets place Florida in prime position for manufacturing goods to export, but we must have in place the talent pool, infrastructure and logistics systems to accommodate the emerging markets.

Growing Florida’s manufacturing industry is essential, especially considering that as other industries saw layoffs and declines, international trade grew by double digits during the 2007-2009 recession. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade & Logistics Study 2.0 report points that Florida can continue to thrive in international markets and become a dominant global hub for trade. The results would be like a snowball – more manufacturing jobs created by increasing global trade leading to more exports, which in turn would create even more jobs, and so on.

So, Where Does Florida Stand?

Over the past 10 years, Florida’s manufacturing output has ranged from a high of 5.5 percent of the State’s GDP in 2007 to a low of 4.9 percent in 2013. Examining this figure for all 50 states, Florida’s share ranks us 47th for 2013. In addition, the gap between Florida’s ranking and successful manufacturing states is a wide one to close. Moving Florida from its current position to the top half of all states would require more than doubling our share of manufacturing output (Pennsylvania ranks 25th with manufacturing equal to 12 percent of its economy). Becoming a top-10 state would require more than tripling our share (Ohio ranks 10th with manufacturing accounting for 17.7 percent of the State’s economy).

“Growing Florida’s economy over the long term will mean a commitment to expanding the health and vitality of our manufacturing industry. Manufacturing origination and the sustainable employment associated with it are essential components to a strong economy and will help us attract top talent seeking above-average wages,” said John Hartnett, V.P., Global Business Development with Endoscopy Replacement Parts, Inc., a full-service precision manufacturing facility. “It’s like we have a diamond ready to be cut and polished. We have a tremendous amount of potential as a state and need to harness the benefits while improving in strategic areas. That means ensuring our talent pool is globally competitive, our workforce system is strategically adapting to challenges and our logistics systems are prepared for 21st century markets.”

In Case You Missed It:


Nancy Stephens, Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of Florida, in an interview earlier this year talks about the importance of Florida’s manufacturing industry on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line. Click here to watch Nancy discuss Florida’s manufacturing sales tax exemption.

Here Are Three Ways You Can Help Secure Florida’s Future

  1. Register and attend a Trade & Logistics Study 2.0 regional roll out. Click here for dates and locations.
  2. Register to attend the Future of Florida Forum on September 29 – October 1. The forum features top-level executives and identifies connection points and partnerships that will make Florida a state with vibrant communities, high-wage jobs and endless opportunities for global competitiveness.
  3. Become a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee and help provide strategic direction for Florida’s future, to 2030 and beyond.


Tell Us Your Story:

How has your business grown through international trade and export opportunities? Where do you see room for Florida to improve its manufacturing business climate?


About the Florida Scorecard Did You Know:

The Florida Scorecard, located at, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each week, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Did You Know that takes an in-depth look at one specific statistic.

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