The Business Case for Economic Prosperity

 

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In a recent blog post submitted to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center, the Florida Chamber Foundation discusses why businesses have the unique ability to help create economic prosperity.
 

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s mission is a simple, yet significant one – to secure Florida’s future. Through our efforts to develop foundational research, inform and educate businesses, and convene business leaders and stakeholders in in-depth discussions, we work to identify the challenges and opportunities that Florida has not just today, but 20 or more years from now. In fact, this mission is the basis of our Florida 2030 research, which over the course of two years has taken us to all 67 counties in our state, where we heard from more than 10,000 Floridians on the issues that matter to them.

One of those issues? Economic prosperity.

Consider the following:

  • There are 28 counties in Florida with a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher.
  • 44 percent of Florida’s 7.5 million households cannot afford the basic needs.
  • More than 3 million Floridians live in poverty. Of those, more than 944,000 are kids under age 18.
  • If we don’t do something today, 133,329 additional children in Florida will live in poverty by 2030.

So, how do we go about securing our state’s future if nearly 1 in 6 Floridians live in poverty?

Believe it or not, even after years of leading this discussion, we are still asked why the state chamber is driving these conversations. And when businesses ask us if the challenge of creating opportunities for economic prosperity for all Floridians is one of economic or moral significance, our answer is “yes” to both.

We believe all leaders in our state should be working together to ensure every Floridian – regardless of their circumstances – has the opportunity to lead successful and meaningful lives. And while there will always be situational poverty – the kind stemming from temporary setbacks – business leaders can play a strong and crucial role in helping break the cycle of generational poverty.

At the Florida Chamber Foundation, we took on the challenge of trying to identify what economic prosperity means for Florida and to educate businesses on how complex the issue of poverty is. Our Less Poverty, Through More Prosperity Report culminates years of research and analyzes poverty rates in all of Florida’s counties, and identifies the challenges that keep people from rising out of generational poverty. This report also identifies a few key opportunities to prepare our state’s workforce and create economic opportunity, which include employing two-generational strategies which recognize that focusing on interventions for children living in poverty without addressing the needs of the parents of those children leads to sub-optimal results, focusing on early learning initiatives so that students have a chance to succeed from a young age, creating workplace based solutions, and ensuring that low-income families have access to the services they need.

We are taking our research and our words and turning them into action. We are traveling the state to talk about economic prosperity, and bringing together businesses, non-profit organizations, community leaders, elected officials and more to discuss best practices and steps toward action at our annual Less Poverty, Through More Prosperity Summit.

Florida has led the way in economic growth and opportunity. We can and must do more to break the cycle of generational poverty by focusing on creating opportunities for all Floridians, especially those born into poverty. And with the business community leading the way, we can be successful.

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Manufacturing Creates Jobs in Florida

For every 10 jobs created in Florida’s export-oriented manufacturing, 12 more jobs are created in transportation, warehousing and retail? With an additional eight jobs created in business services, there are a total number of 30 jobs supported by Florida export manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing has the highest jobs “multiplier” of any sector because it leads to the creation of more indirect and induced jobs in other sectors in the economy.

Simply put, expanding manufacturing in Florida diversifies the economy and provides high-wage jobs. In 2013, the Florida Legislature passed a three-year exemption from sales and use taxes on industrial machinery and equipment used in manufacturing in Florida. This exemption is expected to increase capital investment in Florida by manufacturers, improve productivity, and help Florida’s manufacturers compete better in world markets.

Florida needs manufacturing. Consider the facts:

  • Florida is the 12th-highest state in number of people employed in manufacturing.
  • Florida has 330,544 manufacturing employees, with an average annual wage of more than $54,000.
  • Floridians receive $17.9 billion in manufacturing wages in Florida.
  • There are 19,206 manufacturers in Florida – an increase of 696 over the last year.
  • Manufactured Goods Exports in 2013 equal $56.4 billion.
  • Manufacturing’s Share of Florida’s Exports in 2013 was 93.3 percent.

Besides diversifying the economy, manufacturing firms perform around 70 percent of U.S. Industry Research and Development, even though manufacturing accounts for only about 11 percent of the U.S. economy.

“The impact Florida’s manufacturing industry has on our state’s small businesses is undeniable,” said Michael Myhre, Network State Director for Florida’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network. “Manufacturing helps diversify Florida’s economy and helps create high-wage jobs for Floridians. When Florida remains competitive, small businesses succeed.”

Beginning today, the Manufacturers Association of Florida is hosting their annual Manufacturing Days event in Tallahassee this week. Manufacturing Days will feature speakers on topics important to manufacturers including water policy, the sales tax exemption for manufacturing machinery and equipment, tax issues, and the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Priorities.

Share Your Manufacturing Story:

Is your community diversifying its economy by adding manufacturing companies and manufacturing jobs?  How are your local and regional educational institutions helping prepare your workforce for the manufacturing jobs of the future?  Tell us by contacting us at jparrish@flfoundation.org.

About the Florida Scorecard Did You Know:

The Florida Scorecard, located at www.TheFloridaScorecard.com, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283 or jparrish@flfoundation.org. You can also follow the Florida Chamber Foundation on Twitter at @FLChamberFDN.