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If Florida was a country, its economy would rank 17th in the world — surpassing Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Argentina.

For the first time ever, Florida’s economy has broken the $1 trillion mark. The Florida Chamber of Commerce announced the milestone Friday morning.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chief Economist, Dr. Jerry Parrish, had forecast that Florida would reach the new $1 trillion economy in 2018 and, in fact, achieved that mark this week.

“Becoming a $1 trillion economy means Florida is continuing to grow and create jobs, keeping unemployment lower than the national average, and creating economic opportunity,” said Dr. Parrish. “Thanks to the focus of Florida’s business community and strong leadership from the Governor, Cabinet and legislature, Florida continues to move in the right direction.”

Parrish says Florida is adding $2.74 billion each day to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Chamber says Florida has created more than 180,000 jobs over the past year.

“This is an historic moment for Florida reaching a record $1 trillion in GDP,” said Gov. Rick Scott. “By working every day to create private-sector jobs, we’ve been able to increase Florida’s GDP by mo.re than $270 billion – 37 percent – since 2010. Florida’s growing economy is producing real results for families across our state and we now have the 17th largest economy in the world.”

While the Florida Chamber says the growth of the state’s economy is positive news, the state still faces challenges and opportunities.

The Chamber says there are achievement gaps that Florida must close if its economy is to continue to grow. For instance, 43 percent of 3rd graders aren’t reading at or above grade level. While 1 in 14 jobs in the nation are created in Florida, our state’s 14.8 percent poverty rate includes 21.3 percent of children under age 18.

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