Florida Continues To Outpace National Economic Trends

Governor Ron DeSantis credits the Sunshine State’s economic growth to strong infrastructure and local community development.

By Kari Williams
From the January/February 2024 Issue


Florida has seen consistent economic growth compared to the nation as a whole, according to data from the state’s department of commerce.

October 2023 data compiled by FloridaCommerce shows the state has outpaced the nation in labor force growth for more than two years, and its unemployment rate (2.8%) has been below the national rate (3.9%) for 36 months straight.

“In Florida, we are driving economic success through smart investments in workforce education, strong infrastructure, and local community development,” Governor Ron DeSantis said.

Florida Economic Growth
FloridaCommerce data shows that the Sunshine State has seen economic growth despite national economic decline. (Photo: Adobe Stock/Martin Valigursky)


Florida also has seen 2.7 million new businesses established since 2019, according to the governor’s office.

Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly said DeSantis’ “Freedom First policies” have helped the state make gains in industries such as trade, transportation, and health services.

“In Florida, we are driving economic success through smart investments in workforce education, strong infrastructure, and local community development.”

— Governor Ron DeSantis

“The governor’s approach is a constant focus on the key drivers of long-term workforce and economic readiness, a blueprint based on owning the results and being able to hedge against national trends, rather than waiting for empty promises from federal bureaucrats,” Kelly said.

In fall 2023, DeSantis dedicated $50 million for workforce development in the state’s semiconductor industry.

The Sunshine State also was named the most entrepreneurial state in the country, according to The Digital Project Manager.

“Floridians clearly have an entrepreneurial mindset that not only benefits themselves, but also their communities through the jobs that they create,” Ben Aston wrote in the report. “Florida has the highest percentage of the population that has started a business (0.61%). Of those, 86% started their venture out of choice rather than necessity, i.e., because they were unemployed or required another stream of income.”

Florida also has seen an increase in international visitors, according to VISIT FLORIDA, and welcomed nearly 71 million visitors in 2023.

“VISIT FLORIDA has been laser-focused on building our key international markets and ensuring the return of international visitors to Florida, and that work has paid off,” said Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA President & CEO. “While other states have finally opened their doors to domestic visitors and created more competition, Florida is again leading in international visitors.”

Indian River County: Central For Business Ventures

Indian River County — Vero Beach, Sebastian, Fellsmere — strikes a perfect balance between business and pleasure. Those who live in, work in, or visit Florida’s Central East Coast experience a safe and affordable community, rich in history and natural resources. Year-round mild temperatures and the Atlantic Ocean provide a variety of outdoor activities. The League of American Bicyclists recently awarded a Bronze-level recognition to the area as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

Corporate executives often locate their companies to this area because of their positive vacation experience, plus many have winter homes in Vero Beach. Located midway between West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral, Indian River County is within three hours of more than 19 million potential customers, or 90% of Florida’s population, with easy access to Latin markets.

Florida Economic Growth
An aerial view of the Indian River Lagoon in Vero Beach. (Photo: Indian River County Chamber of Commerce)


The partners at Kessel Medical, a medical device manufacturer, relocated from the traffic-burdened Atlanta area to Vero Beach for a less hectic environment. Marotech, a Canadian manufacturer, opened its second location in Vero Beach. This expansion will better serve customers in the U.S. and Latin America.

Advanced industries, from aviation and aerospace to emerging tech and health care, benefit from a low cost of doing business and some of the lowest taxes in the nation. Commute times within the county are no more than 30 minutes, and an hour or less within the tri-county region, with none of the urban sprawl, traffic, or congestion found elsewhere.

Indian River County also is a cost-competitive place to locate or expand a business. The Indian River Chamber participates in the national Cost of Living survey, comparing a variety of cost factors with 300 other markets throughout the U.S. Year-after-year, the Vero Beach-Sebastian area cost-of-living index is typically on par, or slightly lower, than the national average.

Florida Economic Growth
Piper Matrix flying over the Indian River Lagoon in Vero Beach. (Photo: Piper Aircraft Inc.)

The county has hundreds of acres of low-cost land available for commercial or industrial development, much of it located near Interstate 95, a major north-south transportation route along the east coast—perfect for warehouse/distribution operations. The county offers competitive property tax rates, local incentives, and no state income tax. Plus, all properties west of I-95 are designated as Opportunity Zones.

Air transportation in the area is served by two general aviation airports, which primarily cater to private and corporate aircraft. Sebastian Airport is home to Whelen Aerospace Technologies, a global leader in high-end lighting products for the aerospace industry. Vero Beach Regional Airport is home to Piper Aircraft, an internationally recognized manufacturer of small personal aircraft. Breeze Airways offers nonstop flights to several locations in the Northeast from Vero Beach. Both airports have plenty of airside and non-aviation land available for future development.

Visit www.indianrivered.com for more information.

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