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New Pinellas County residents flock to one city: St. Petersburg

Mayor Ken Welch releases office vacancies, list of top taxpayers and top private employers.

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  • | 4:30 p.m. March 29, 2024
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St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch talks about the state of the city economy on Thursday.
St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch talks about the state of the city economy on Thursday.
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If people vote with their feet, St. Petersburg won the Pinellas County election.

Over the last three years, 15,000 people have settled in Pinellas County, according to the city's "State of the Economy" report released Thursday.

Almost half of the new residents chose St. Petersburg. Largo came in second at about 13%. Clearwater grabbed just over 10% of the new residents. Unincorporated Pinellas County received about 5% of those new people.

That was one of the many factoids released in the report by the administration of Mayor Ken Welch, who showcased the statistics and spoke alongside Cathie Wood, ARK Invest during a presentation event on Thursday.

Welch and the report noted unemployment in St. Pete is down. 

The rate for the final quarter of 2023 was 2.9%, a small drop from the same quarter in 3% in 2022, a bigger drop from the 4.7% rate in 2021 and a huge improvement from the 8.2% rate at the end of 2020.

Other key findings:

  • Raymond James Financial is the largest private employer in the city, followed by Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, Publix, Jabil and St. Anthony's Hospital.
  • The top five taxpayers in St. Pete are Raymond James, Camden USA, Camden Central, Avanti and TGM Bay Isle.
  • Despite an 8.8% drop in construction permits in 2023, both 2022 and 2023 outperformed the pandemic  with the city issuing 36,124 in 2022 and 33,190 in 2023. By comparison, 30,804 permits were issued in 2020.
  • Citywide Class A office space is at 11% vacancy in 2023, up from 8.8% in 2022. Rents dropped in 2023 by 2.3% to $27.62 per square foot, from $28.26 in 2022.
  • The city says it has more than 100 organizations to assist entrepreneurs.


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