Recent employment, cost of living data signal strong, growing economy in Hillsborough County

November 10, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. / Data recently released by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation’s research team offers good news about the local economy for Hillsborough County residents. The Cost of Living Index (COLI) in the Tampa MSA continues to be the second lowest in the state, and our employment numbers in major industry sectors are on the rise.


According to data collected by the EDC’s research team, the Tampa MSA’s COLI in the third quarter of 2016 came in at 92.2. While this is a slight increase from the second quarter index at 89.4, the score is still 7.8 points lower than the national average.


Tampa’s index of 92.2 is the second lowest in the state of Florida and the lowest among similar metros, such as Orlando, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Charlotte. In comparison, the Tampa MSA’s grocery index came in at 94.6, while Raleigh’s was well over the national average at 113.8. However, our utilities scores did not stack up the same way, with Tampa’s index at 113.2 and Raleigh’s at 94.6.


It’s not just the cost of living that continues to attract individuals to our area: our unemployment rate is low, and our major industry employment numbers continue to rise, year over year.


The third quarter of 2016 saw a nearly three percent increase in employment totals over the same time last year, bringing the Tampa MSA’s employment total to 1,282,300. The Tampa MSA’s unemployment rate continues to stay lower than that in the state of Florida and the United States at 4.7 percent.


Professional and Business Services added 8,500 to their employment total, an increase of nearly 4 percent, from September 2015 to September 2016. This target industry continues to hold 18 percent of major industry employment in the region, which is also the largest share of the industries analyzed. The second largest major industry sector, Education and Health Services, added 6,800, or 3.5 percent, during the same time period.


Meanwhile, Real Estate, Rental & Leasing saw the largest percentage increase of 6.2 percent. This increase may be due to the large amount of single-family home permits issued in recent months. Building permits for single-family homes grew by 19 percent over last year. And in August 2016, Hillsborough County alone issued more than 400 single-family home permits, with 77 percent of them issued in the southern portion of the county.


“The single-family home permits issued demonstrate the kind of activity that is happening in Hillsborough County,” said Robin DiSalvo, Market Research Analyst for the EDC. “Employment numbers are increasing; unemployment rates continue to stay low; and more and more people are taking action to make Tampa and Hillsborough County their permanent home. The economy is continuing to grow here.”


For more information, please visit the EDC’s Data Center: