Business Climate in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is making a name for itself! In 2015, the region received numerous accolades, including: Best Places to Retire (No. 1, WalletHub), Best Airport in the U.S. (No. 2, Conde Nast Traveler), Best American City for Sports Travel (No. 4, and SeatGeek), Best Small Business Cities (No. 19, Biz2Credit), and Best Cities to Find a Job (No. 24, WalletHub).

The depth and diversity of our regional business community led to significant growth in industries defined by innovation and technology. These industries include financial and shared services, life sciences, defense and security, manufacturing, and agribusiness. The area also has firms specializing in medical devices, high tech electronics and instruments, logistics and distribution, homeland security and defense, and port/maritime. Diversification of services has been key to the success and vitality of the local economy.

Nearly one in four of Florida’s business and information services firms calls Tampa home, ranging from information technology to law firms, accounting, engineering, and other consulting businesses. Tampa also is a gateway to the Florida High Tech Corridor, a 23-county area that spans across the state and is connected by three research universities, more than 20 local and regional economic development organizations, 14 community and state colleges, and six regional workforce boards.

Today, Tampa Bay is home to 19 corporate headquarters with over $1 billion in annual revenue, eight of which are Fortune 1000 companies. Tampa is also the location of choice for nearly 500 foreign-owned companies representing over 40 nations.

Among those Tampa Bay-based companies on the Fortune 500 list for 2015 are Publix Super Markets, Tech Data, Jabil Circuit, and WellCare Health Plans, and the Fortune 1000 companies include Raymond James Financial, Bloomin’ Brands, HSN, and TECO Energy. Other companies with headquarters in the area include Sykes Enterprises, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Brown & Brown Insurance, and Verizon Florida.

Several companies have also established large facilities or expanded in the Tampa Bay area, creating more jobs and boosting the local economy with capital investment, including Amazon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, HealthPlan Services, James Hardie, Morgan Stanley, Tribridge, and USAA.

In August 2015, Amazon announced it planned to hire 2,000 people at its two fulfillment centers in Florida — in Ruskin and Lakeland — which nearly doubled the size of its workforce in the state.  The company says that its fulfillment center jobs, which include handling and shipping orders from an air conditioned warehouse, pay about 30 percent more than the average retail salary.

USAA is expanding its presence in Hillsborough County, creating up to 1,215 new jobs and $164.3 million in capital investment by 2019. Bristol-Myers Squibb also opened a new 70,000 square-foot facility in January 2014 with approximately 250 employees. The company will add up to 325 additional jobs supporting scientific and technical activities at the site by 2017.

As one of the top economic engines in the Tampa Bay area, Tampa International Airport offers non-stop flights to more than 70 domestic and international destinations at fares lower than most major metro areas. In September 2015, TIA launched a new non-stop flight to Frankfurt, Germany, one of the world’s busiest hubs, via Lufthansa Airlines. According to TIA, this daily nonstop to Europe is expected to have an annual economic impact on the Tampa Bay region of $97 million and create roughly 680 jobs.

From a wide-ranging cargo mix to its cruise passenger popularity to repair of ships, Port Tampa Bay is truly among the nation's most diverse seaports. Port Tampa Bay continues to flourish as the No. 1 economic engine in West Central Florida, supporting nearly 80,000 jobs and delivering some $15 billion in annual economic impact. Port Tampa Bay is building upon its rock-solid foundation to meet the demands of global trade and the needs of a region of more than 8 million consumers.

The military also plays a significant role in the strength and quality of our workforce. MacDill Air Force Base employs nearly 19,000 military and civilian personnel, and more than 73,000 retirees and spouses of military retirees reside within 50 miles of the base. Active, Reserve, Guard, federal civil servants, civilian contractors, and retirees continue to contribute to the Tampa Bay region.

Looking to the future, Tampa will continue its successful diversification strategy to add more high-wage, high-skill jobs. Health care, technology, and education will continue to play prominent roles. More emphasis will also be placed on international outreach and growing the international sector for both trade and reverse investment.

See more detailed economic development information.