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Economy PDF Print E-mail
Written by ARC   
Monday, 22 March 2010 22:35
  • Farming and the lumbering and naval stores industries, all concentrated in northern Florida, were early mainstays of the economy. In the late 19th century, the extension of the railroads down the peninsula opened up an area previously populated only by Indians; given the favorable climate, central and southern Florida soon became major agricultural areas. Tourism, aggressively promoted by the early railroad builders, became a major industry after World War I and remains so today.

    Tourists and winter residents with second homes in Florida contribute billions of dollars annually to the state economy and make retailing and construction particularly important economic sectors. However, this dependence on discretionary spending by visitors and part-time dwellers also makes the economy—and especially the housing industry—highly vulnerable to recession.

    The arms build-up during the Reagan administration helped to expand Florida's aerospace and electronics industries. Even in 1991, after the reduction of the national military budget, Florida ranked seventh nationally in the value of Department of Defense contracts awarded. Florida ranked fourth in the nation in defense electronics manufacturing employment in 1999.

    The state's economy—particularly that of the Miami area—has also benefited from an influx of Latin American investment funds. Miami is said to have one of the largest underground economies in the US, a reference both to the sizable inflow of cash from illicit drug trafficking and to the large numbers of Latin American immigrants working for low, unreported cash wages. Florida's population increased by 16% between 1990 and 1999, due primarily to migration. Strong annual economic growth rates in the late 1990s (averaging 6.6% 1998 to 2000) were only moderated to 4.2% in the national recession of 2001. Growth continued damped in 2002, reflecting, particularly, a slowdown in Florida's tourist industry, but remained above the national average. By July 2002, the state was experiencing positive, if small (less than 1%), job growth. As was true in much of the country, the share of manufacturing in Florida's economy decreased in both absolute and relative terms coming into the 21st century. From a peak of $31 billion in 1999, output from the manufacturing sector declined 6.3% by 2001. As a share of the Florida economy, manufacturing declined from 7.7% in 1997 to 5.9% in 2001. By contrast, the financial services and trade sectors (wholesale and retail) each grew by more than 27% 1997 to 2001, and general services (including hotels and tourist services) grew 36.9% during this period.

    Florida's gross state product in 2001 totaled $491.5 billion (fourth largest in the nation), of which the public sector contributed 12.2%). The major contributors to the state's gross output in 2001 were general services ($125.9 billion); financial services ($108.5 billion); trade ($$83.4 billion); transportation and public utilities ($39.4 billion), manufacturing ($29 billion) and construction ($27 billion).

Gross State Product:
$491 Billion (2001)
$472 Billion (2000)

Economy Strengths:

  • International Trade (40% of all U.S. exports to Latin and South America pass through Florida)
  • Tourism - with 76.8 million visitors in 2004 (a record number), Florida is the top travel destination in the world. The tourism industry has an economic impact of $57 billion on Florida’s economy. Click here for additional tourism facts and statistics.
  • Space Industry - The space industry represents $4.5 billion of the state's economy. The average annual wage of aerospace workers is approximately $52,000. The number employed at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) alone is 15,000 and Florida ranks 4th among the states in overall aerospace employment with 23,000 jobs.
  • Agriculture – Florida leads the southeast in farm income.
    Florida produces about 75% of the U.S. oranges and accounts for about 40% of the world's orange juice supply.
  • Construction - This industry's strength results from the steady stream of new residents and visitors who are welcomed to Florida each year.
  • Services - growth in high tech, financial & back office operations
  • Software - many small, entrepreneurial companies
  • Health Technology (medical, biotech, laboratories)
  • University Research - more than $500 million per year in sponsored research at Florida universities
  • (Click Here) for more information on Florida's economy

State Budget Information | Governor's e-Budget Page

  • $64.7 Billion (2005-2006)

  • $57.3 Billion (2004-2005)

  • $53.5 Billion (2003-2004)

  • $50.4 Billion (2002-2003)

  • $47 Billion (2001-2002)
    After December 2001 cuts amounting to $1 billion due to state revenue shortfall
    Governor's Line Item Vetoes (Regular Legislative Session)

  • $51 Billion (2000-2001 Fiscal Year)

State Spending Per Capita 1998 - Florida Ranks 49th ($2,628)

Florida Taxes - Florida ranks low in terms of the tax burden placed on residents. Based on income, property and other state and local tax collections, the Tax Foundation research organization ranks Florida among the lowest tax states (Florida ranks #45 among the 50 states in 2004; only five states have a lower tax burden).

State Sales Tax - 6%
Corporate Tax - 5.5%
State Income Tax - None

Last Updated on Monday, 22 March 2010 22:52