In 2003, the Florida Chamber Foundation released New Cornerstone: A Vision for Florida’s Economic Future. This report, an update of the 1989 report, Cornerstone: Foundations for Economic Leadership, established a 10-year blueprint to move Florida’s economy into the early part of the 21st century.
New Cornerstone was published as Florida’s economy reached a turning point. The 1990s were a period of stunning growth and change for Florida’s economy. The State created nearly two million new jobs during the decade, capping off this success by ranking first among all states for net job creation during the national recession of 2001-2002. However, many of these new jobs were in lower-paying service and trade industries, and the State made only modest progress in developing high-quality jobs in professional services and technology sectors. Per capita personal income – the single most basic measure of a region’s economic prosperity – increased at a slower rate than the national average during the 1990s, pushing Florida residents from almost three percent above to nearly five percent below the national per capita income level.
New Cornerstone found that Florida faced two major options at the dawn of the 21st century. One option was to continue the path the state has followed for the past several decades: attracting tourists, retirees, and service-sector businesses and competing on the basis of its climate, location, and low cost of living. These factors were likely to ensure continued economic growth for the State, but as the 1980s and 1990s showed, without major improvements in the quality of the State’s jobs or the prosperity of its residents. An alternative was for Florida to redouble its efforts to compete as a location for value-added production and services, primarily through nurturing home-grown businesses and marketing their products worldwide. If successful, Florida would realize a vital cycle of rising productivity and income levels – a period of sustained growth and development.
New Cornerstone set a bold, three-part vision for Florida during the first decade of the 21st century
- Global Leadership
Make Florida the most competitive state in the key industries and economic activities of the early part of 21st century – similar to the position enjoyed by New York during the 1800s and California during much of the 1900s;
- Prosperous Families
Increase Florida’s per capita personal income above the national average by 2010; and
- Vibrant Communities
Make Florida the number one state to live, work, and do business.