Cost of living down, employment numbers up in Tampa Bay

August 23, 2017

Two new reports released in August showed the Tampa MSA’s continued economic rise: employment numbers continue to grow, and the cost of living remains below the national average.

Last week, Governor Rick Scott announced that the Tampa area added 39,700 new private sector jobs in the past year – the highest number of jobs among all metros in Florida. The unemployment rate dipped to 4.1%, 0.8 percent lower than this time last year.

Professional and Business Services dominated the list of industries that are adding jobs here. Tampa Bay generated more than 17,000 such jobs from July 2016 to July 2017. The Tampa area also remained first among Florida metro areas in job demand in July, with 43,523 openings. Nearly 15,000 of these available positions are in STEM-related companies.

The Tampa MSA’s first quarter Cost of Living Index (COLI) of 96.2 remains below the national average, and makes our region more affordable than the Atlanta (97.7), Dallas (101.2), and Austin (97.7) metro markets.

Here’s how the Tampa Bay area stacks up against Atlanta when it comes to common groceries, goods, and services:

“Choosing Tampa gets easier all the time – whether you are a company looking at a potential expansion or relocation or a person seeking a job and a new community to call home,” said Craig J. Richard, CEcD, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough EDC. “Our cost of living for the quality of life we enjoy, and the talent we can find to grow companies, helps us stack up well against any other major market in the United States.”