OK, But Can I Find a Job in Florida? Forbes Says, Yes!

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Photo: Kelly Dean

OK, But Can I Find a Job in Florida? Forbes says, Yes!

By Kelly Dean

This site has a boots on the ground philosophy when it comes to delivering information about Florida life. What good are stats if the real-world experience is different from what the stats say it should be? Nevertheless, stats are more scientifically objective where observation is more subjective.

It’s smart to check both, however. You can gather the data, but it’s a good idea to ask a friend too. There are nuances to about everything, so we’re here to be the friend, so to speak.

If you relocate to Florida, evidently the answer to whether you can find a job is a resounding yes. In fact, Florida is the second best state in which to find a job and many of its cities are the best in the nation. This is according to two separate articles from Forbes Magazine online. Using data from economist, Edward Friedman of Moody’s Analytics, they concluded Florida ranks second only to Nevada in future job growth. If that isn’t impressive enough, five out of the top 10 projected growth cities are in Florida as well. With 3.9 percent expected job growth in the No. 1 city, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, that’s more than double the national average of 1.4 percent.

The four other cities on the top 10 list include Orlando, Naples, Deltona and Ocala, all projecting growth of 3 percent or more.

bird15-240x187As a state overall, Florida is projected to grow at 2.3 percent over the next five years. Compared to that national average of 1.4 percent mentioned above, such growth lends comfort to any decision about relocating to Florida. Realize Florida was hit the hardest during the banking and real estate challenge a few years back, with foreclosures running rampant, so it’s logical that it is on the leading edge of the comeback as well: The desire to live here hasn’t changed.

I promised nuances and there are always a few. Florida has an average household income at about $50,000 per year. For this reason it doesn’t make the top of the household income list with the best states coming in around the mid to upper 60s. Therefore, overall incomes are down a bit compared to some other communities.

Part of this is the sun premium I mentioned in this article here. Another is the makeup of those relocating to Florida. The jobs are largely centered on real estate, construction and hospitality. This state gets its great boost from folks seeking the sun in retirement, and tourists visiting the theme parks, nature, ocean and wildlife. Job seekers are needed to build the homes, businesses and service industries around these people.

“The structural advantages that Florida enjoys—low costs of living and doing business, warm climate, and leisure time amenities like beaches and attractions like Disney World in Orlando—will propel the above-average gains,”

— Edward Friedman, an economist who tracks Florida for Moody’s Analytics. Forbes, Nov. 16, 2016

Cape Coral is a bedroom community on the other side of the Caloosahatchee River from Fort Myers. The two are in the same statistical area. Among the five cities in Forbes’ list, Cape Coral – Fort Myers and Naples are the closest to the ocean, being on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida. Naples is about a 45-minute drive south of Fort Myers and also near the Gulf. Being near the beaches, obviously construction is key for this area, as is hospitality. Seasonal visitors are plentiful in “Cape,” as it’s called, and there is a vast network of canals as well. Southwest Florida, especially Naples, is home to the golf resorts. So if you’re into golf, it’s the place for you.

My boots on the ground observation is there are plenty of dump trucks moving around in these areas. That’s a crude version of intel for when growth is visually occurring. You can’t throw a rock in Naples without hitting a dump truck; there’s at least one or two at every intersection. Don’t throw a rock though.

bird16-240x208Both Orlando and Deltona are in south-central Florida near the theme parks and lakes, in fact Deltona is about halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach. This area thrives on vacationers and relocated retirees so hospitality is king here. Traffic can often be an issue, but this is true about everywhere in Florida during season.

Ocala is on the southern edge of north-central Florida, about 40 miles south of Gainesville, where the University of Florida is located. It’s about a 90-minute drive north of Orlando. So it’s nestled into a sweet spot between two key areas. Jobs in this area will again focus on hospitality and construction. There are nearby lakes and Ocala National Forest is in the area as well for the nature-lover.

Since this is a Forbes top 10 list, I wouldn’t be surprised if other Florida cities appeared on the list as well if it were, say, a top 20 list. We don’t know, but one could reasonably speculate. I mention this because the overall state outlook is so good, you probably couldn’t go wrong anywhere in the state.

You’re never much more than an hour from a beach in most of Florida, so if you’re seeking fun in the sun and a job to pay for it, the future looks bright for the sunshine state – better wear shades.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

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