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The Economic Prosperity of Tampa Bay in Perspective

Downtown Tampa
Downtown Tampa

Official data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis reported in February 2013 that the Tampa Bay region was the fastest-growing metropolitan area in Florida for 2011. The GDP (adjusted for inflation) of the Clearwater-St. Petersburg-Tampa area grew by an astonishing 1.6% during 2011. This dwarfed the growth rates of other large metropolitan areas such as Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami/Fort Lauderdale. Those regions grew at a rather sluggish rate of 0.6% – less than half as much as Tampa Bay. The prosperity of Tampa Bay, during 2011, matched some 366 metropolitan areas across the USA during the same year. GDP measures the production of all services and goods produced within a region – adjusted for inflation – during a calendar year. According to the official reports, Tampa Bay GDP was measured at $116 billion for 2011, making it the 24th largest in the US. In terms of ranking by growth, Tampa Bay was listed at 120 (metropolitan area in Florida) for 2010. The majority of the GDP that is generated in Florida metropolitan areas takes place in Miami/Fort Lauderdale. The 2011 GDP figure for that metro area was measured at $263 billion.

Why are Millionaires Leaving Florida?
The Tampa Bay region and Florida as a whole has often been synonymous with millionaires. During 2012, Florida was listed at number 20 in terms of the most millionaires in the country. However, that figure has dropped to 30 overall based on the percentage of households that have millionaire status. In other words, the state of Florida lost an incredible 30,000 millionaires during the course of 2011. The total number of millionaire households in the state is now a fraction under 350,000. While this figure is certainly impressive, it is interesting to note that this is the lowest number of millionaire households that the state has seen in over five years. Much of the change has been attributed to the fact that Florida does not have a source of wealth creation (with the exception of tourism). States like Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts are largely reliant on their metropolitan areas and thriving cities to generate massive amounts of wealth. With the exception of Orlando and Miami, Florida tends to be lacking in that department. However, the concentration of millionaire households in the Tampa Bay area is listed at 51,000. There are some 1.2 million households in the Tampa metropolitan area, placing this region second to the Miami metropolitan region.

Tampa Lacks a Central Economic Hub
Analysts have been pouring their energy into understanding precisely why the numbers for Tampa and indeed Florida have dropped year on year, especially since Florida is starting to enjoy a strong recovery. While no individual events can be pinpointed, the proximity to major business hubs like Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles and Baltimore has been cited. It is those areas that are rich in consulting contracts, defense, federal contracts and the like. Some analysts point to the fact that Florida is lacking in its capacity to generate wealth – other than tourism. For the most part, Florida millionaires are implants from other states. In other words most millionaires come down to Florida to retire, they don't necessarily make their money in Florida. High net worth retirees have increasingly been shopping around for places to live. While Florida remains the preferred option for many, other states such are increasingly attractive.

Author’s Bio: Brett Chatz is a graduate of UNISA University where he earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree. He completed post-graduate studies at the University of Haifa. He is a financial analyst, published medical-fiction author and syndicated columnist. Nowadays Brett contributes his expertise and knowledge for Intertrader - spread betting and CFD trading provider