Our economic recovery must be more inclusive

June 11, 2020

It’s hard to believe that a few short months ago, the Tampa MSA’s rate of unemployment was under 3%. Today, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Tampa MSA’s total unemployment is around 12.5%. However, the unemployment rate among African Americans in our community is significantly higher – over 17%. We need to do a better job of ensuring that the road to economic recovery is more inclusive, and presents opportunities for meaningful employment for all members of our community.

The Tampa Bay EDC’s mission is to bring high-wage jobs to our market by attracting new companies and helping local businesses to expand. Despite the pandemic, we just announced one of the top 10 projects in the EDC’s ten year history: the opening of Fisher Investments’ new Tampa center, which will eventually employ 600 people in jobs that span the gamut from executive roles to marketing and communications, legal, human resources and information technology. It’s a huge win for our community on any day but is especially important now. Many of these new jobs can provide opportunities for those who recently lost theirs, allowing us to keep great talent in our market.

While we have many other exciting projects in our pipeline and our team continues working to close them, we’ve joined forces with our City and County, workforce and education, and business association partners to help get funds and other resources to businesses and individuals who need them.  Our work on the Economic Recovery Task Force and the Back to Business Hillsborough Toolkit was just the beginning of our involvement. We are prepared to assist our City and County colleagues to spread the word to our local businesses about CARES Act relief allocations. We’ll be working together with our other partners, Investors, and allies – especially those who support minority and underserved communities in Hillsborough County – to help get the word out to dislocated workers about fully funded training programs and other sources of support that can put them on a fast track to a new career.

Our community has been through tough times before. We are resilient. We know how to pull together and develop creative solutions to solve our challenges. We have an opportunity to make this economic recovery truly inclusive and foster prosperity for everyone. Let’s not waste it.