Tampa Bay economy picks up jobs, but trails regional competitiors

Business Intelligence Officer Dave Sobush said at a news conference at the Partnership's headquarters that the Tampa Bay area did not have a "fatal flaw" in any of the five categories that make up the score for that grade, which includes congestion, commute time, vehicle miles traveled per capita and transit ridership. He said that officials with both local major transit agencies, HART & PSTA, have said that down economies drive transit ridership.

One statistic that seems endemic to the Tampa Bay area is the fact that paid salaries consistently are lower than in the five other metropolitan area included in the bi-annual study.

Another interesting tidbit from the report: The region is tough on renters. Despite the fact that Tampa Bay residents in comparison with the other five regions have the lowest income, the Bay area has the third highest rental rate of the six cities surveyed.

The Tampa Bay Partnership reviews the economic development trends of six metropolitan areas for the regional economic scorecard, which is released twice a year.

A new economic report regarding the Tampa Bay area has produced mixed results.

According to the Tampa Bay Regional Economic Scorecard released Tuesday morning, the Bay area added 15,500 jobs from the 3rd quarter of 2010 to the 3rd quarter of 2011, the biggest job increase since the summer of 2007. That was right before the sub-prime mortgage crisis rocked the region, laying the foundation for the recession that followed.

But despite that gain, Tampa Bay remains fifth overall among six of its regional rivals, the fourth straight time it has been that low in these quarterly reports. The Tampa Bay area’s economy includes eight counties, from Citrus to Sarasota.

The scorecard measures the six economic driver categories of employment and workforce; income and productivity; housing; innovation; education; and transportation; and compares the region’s economic performance against Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Jacksonville, and Raleigh-Durham.

One place where Tampa Bay ranked first, believe it or not, was in transportation.

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