Recent data points to strong, growing economy in Hillsborough County

June 16, 2016

Key economic indicators collected by the Tampa Hillsborough EDC point to a robust first quarter for Hillsborough County, where a dollar continues to go further than most major markets.

The Cost of Living Index for Tampa rings in at 92.3 out of the national average of 100 points, a .3 point drop from the first quarter of 2015. Compared to Florida’s other major markets, the Tampa MSA is the most affordable, with Miami at 114.1, Jacksonville at 96.8, and Orlando at 94.7. Four Florida markets have become more expensive to live in since Q1 2015: Gainesville, Sarasota, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale.

The Tampa MSA is also more affordable than competing metro markets across the U.S., including Atlanta (99.6), Charlotte (92.7), Nashville (96.1), and Denver (109.3). Among 11 of the Tampa MSA’s top competing markets, six have become more expensive to live in since Q1 2015: Dallas, Phoenix, Raleigh, Nashville, Austin, and Denver.

1Q 2016 COLI MSA Comparison

Economic indicators from March 2016 continue to be strong for the Tampa MSA. The metro area added 41,800 jobs, an increase of 3.4 percent from last year at that time. The biggest year-over-year winners were professional and business services with 12,400 new jobs, education and health services with 11,000 new jobs, as well as construction with 6,700.

Total unemployment in Hillsborough County dropped yet again by .1 percent to 4.2 percent. That keeps Hillsborough a half a percentage point lower than the state of Florida, which sits at 4.7, and almost a full percentage point than the national unemployment rate of 5.1 percent.

The real estate market also continued to prosper. Building permits for single-family homes are up 37 percent from March 2015’s numbers, and rental rates for multi-family homes are up nearly 9 percent in Hillsborough County and nearly 10 in the metro area.