High-wage industry cluster strategy projected to create 200,000 jobs, boost Florida’s GDP by $100 billion

by | Jun 26, 2024



The Florida Council of 100’s “Beyond Sunshine” strategy aims to boost Florida’s economy by 2030 through targeted investment in high-wage industry clusters, projected to create 200,000 direct high-wage jobs, indirectly add 400,000 jobs, and contribute nearly $100 billion to the state’s GDP.


In a report published on Wednesday, business advocacy group The Florida Council of 100 posited an economic strategy for developing high-wage industry clusters that capitalizes on regional strengths to elevate Florida’s economic profile by 2030.

The strategy, referred to as Beyond Sunshine, plans to add 200,000 jobs in higher-wage industries, contribute nearly $100 billion in added GDP, and indirectly create 400,000 additional jobs through an economic multiplier effect.

“Beyond Sunshine is a comprehensive economic development plan to propel Florida into a new era of economic growth through targeted investment in higher-wage sectors,” the report states. “Every region of Florida will build on its unique strengths to specialize in industries that will shape the future.”

In Northwest Florida, focus areas include aerospace and defense, business services, and IT/tech, projected to create approximately 11,000 jobs and increase GDP by $2 billion to $4 billion by 2030. Northeast Florida, prioritizing advanced manufacturing and finance/insurance, is expected to generate 19,000 to 23,000 jobs and boost GDP by $4 billion to $10 billion.

Central West Florida, including Tampa and Sarasota, emphasizes distribution/logistics, eCommerce, health services, biopharma, and medtech, aiming to create 25,000 to 42,000 jobs and enhance GDP by $6 billion to $23 billion. Southeast Florida, encompassing Miami and its surrounding counties, targets growth in finance and insurance, with potential job creation of 66,000 to 74,000 and a GDP increase of $14 billion to $40 billion.

Central Florida is targeted to build on its aerospace heritage, with initiatives to partner with local universities and aerospace firms to drive innovation and sustain growth.

“Florida has an incredible opportunity to accelerate growth and cement our place as a global leader in entrepreneurship, research, innovation, and commerce,” said Eric Silagy, Chair of the Florida Council of 100. “Through targeted investments in higher-wage sectors, we will not only navigate the rapidly changing economic and technological landscape—but help to shape it for the benefit of everyone who calls Florida home today and for future generations.”

The strategy also encompasses manufacturing and agri-business as key growth drivers in rural communities, enhancing both employment and GDP. Statewide, the Council notes the burgeoning potential of IT and eCommerce and advocates for infrastructure upgrades and policy incentives to attract tech companies to position Florida as a leading hub for digital commerce and technological innovation.

The report also addresses infrastructure and socioeconomic challenges accompanying Florida’s growth. It calls for investments in transportation, utilities, and digital infrastructure to support expanding industries. Additionally, it recommends housing affordability initiatives and insurance market reforms to make Florida more attractive to skilled professionals.

Southeast Florida is targeted as a future hub for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, driven by its geographic location conducive to international business and its local research institutions. The strategy involves enhancing research facilities and fostering collaborations between universities and the biotech industry to develop a competitive edge in the global health sciences market.

“Our goal is attracting even more investment to these industries in Florida, building resilience and ensuring the state remains the destination of choice for businesses, investors, employees, and their families,” said Florida Council of 100 President and CEO Michael Simas.

Venture capital trends are also noted as a crucial element of the economic strategy, with a notable influx of investments into targeted sectors like biotechnology and IT. Implementation strategies include fostering collaboration among state and local governments, the private sector, and educational institutions. The report emphasizes the alignment of educational programs with industry needs to ensure a skilled labor pipeline, essential for sustaining growth.

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