By: Eric Wright
Though Mark Twain once said, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable,” there are some remarkable statistics we need to know about, particularly in regards to Florida. We are enjoying an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent and declining, with Orlando leading the state by adding 53,900 new jobs during the past 12 months. In fact, 238,600 new jobs have been created in the state over the past year. Remember, when the competition for a workforce increases, wages go up, which means there are lifestyle improvements for everyone. Also, Brevard has the largest share of STEM-related jobs in Florida and is #5 on the list of the most concentrated high-tech workforce in the United States.
Last month we looked at Florida tourism, which generated $108.8 billion in spending by the 112.3 million visitors who came here in 2016. But here is a migration trend you may not have heard about: $879,000 in income migrates into the state every hour of every day. This may explain why there are 7,889 new home starts and 27,854 home sales on average each month.
For those of you who ask about social impact, we regrettably have 15.8 percent of our population at or below poverty level. However, that number is slightly down, as is the number of students who do not complete high school.
One of the most exciting sectors we see growing in the state, and particularly in Central Florida, is manufacturing. These high-wage positions (which average $57,824) offer not just jobs but also career opportunities to a broad spectrum of the population, along with enviable benefit packages. Florida now has more than 365,900 people employed in the manufacturing sector, an increase of 10,900 jobs over the year. We are still below the 1990 high, but we have been climbing steadily since 2010, with Orange and Brevard counties showing some of the most robust growth.
This month we celebrate some of the brave souls who are following their passions. Tom Peters was right when he said,
“I think economics is about passion. Economic progress, whether it’s a two-person coffee shop or Netscape, it is about people with brave ideas. Because it’s brave to mortgage the house to start a coffee shop when you’ve got two kids in order.”