High-wage, primary-industry jobs on the rise

An update of a Pinellas County employment study has delivered a pleasant surprise.
By: 
Jul. 20, 2018

Pinellas County might be one of Florida’s most densely built-out and developed counties, but that hasn’t stopped it from attracting companies that add high-quality jobs to the local workforce.

A recent update to a 2014 economic development study found that since 2015 Pinellas County employers created 5,730 high-wage jobs in primary industries — such as manufacturing, financial services and IT — topping the original goal of 3,958 that was set four years ago by Pinellas County Economic Development.

That’s 1,772 more jobs than anticipated, and they pay an average annual salary of $63,299. 

Primary industry businesses are valued by economic development organizations because they usually can locate anywhere and bring with them high-wage jobs that help stimulate local economies. Companies like the Penny Hoarder, a $37 million digital publishing company with 82 employees that weighed offers from other cities before deciding to not only stay, but expand, in St. Petersburg as it looks to add 165 peopke to its payroll by 2020.

“St. Petersburg represents the future of media and technology and we're thrilled to call it home,” Penny Hoarder founder and CEO Kyle Taylor stated in a 2017 press release that announced the company’s decision to stay put. Many other companies feel the same way about St. Pete and Pinellas County, according to local officials who say the county’s low taxes, modest business costs and quality workforce are driving the growth of good jobs.

Because of the county’s geographic limitations, proactive redevelopment of existing property has also been key to luring primary industry companies, says Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth Welch in a press release.

"Pinellas is the first built-out county in Florida," says Welch. "We're working to ensure that our community continues to be a very attractive location for growing and attracting companies to create jobs."