Tampa Bay Partnership and the USF Muma College of Business unveil key economic findings at ‘State of the Region’ annual event

Tampa, Fla (February 10, 2023) — The Tampa Bay Partnership and University of South Florida Muma College of Business announced the release of two key economic competitiveness reports that benchmark the regions’ advancements against 19 comparable communities.

The main findings from the 2023 complementary reports show:

  • Tampa Bay is number one in attracting new residents of all ages.
  • For the average Tampa Bay family, nearly 55 cents of every dollar are spent on housing and transportation before buying food.
  • The Tampa Bay region ranks in the top five in terms of IT job openings per million individuals.
  • On the early education front, less than half of young children enter Kindergarten with the skills they need, and third grade reading levels continue to trend downward.
  • Mental health indicators, such as depression prevalence rates and frequent mental distress, have been rising in recent years.

This year’s findings focus on the state of work and life, and the future of work and life. Researchers and subject matter experts dive deeper into causes, implications, and the shared community challenges ahead. The State of the Region community luncheon was held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on February 10 at the Marshall Student Center on the USF Tampa campus; nearly 450 business, nonprofit, government leaders, and the general public attended.

This is the sixth year that USF and the Tampa Bay Partnership have teamed up to compile two complementary reports.

The Tampa Bay Partnership and collaborating partners Community Foundation Tampa Bay and United Way Suncoast produce the sixth edition of the 2023 Regional Competitiveness Report (RCR). USF researchers publish the 2023 Tampa Bay E-Insights Report.  

Over time, the findings have illuminated successes and regional challenges. Both reports explore how the Tampa Bay area’s eight-county region stacks up against 19 similar-sized peer and aspirational metropolitan areas in key economic and socio-economic metrics.

“What gets measured is what gets done,” said Bemetra Simmons, president and CEO of Tampa Bay Partnership. “This report highlights our successes and where regional collaboration is needed to address our areas of opportunity. It is our goal that this research be used as a rallying point across all 8-counties so we can focus our time, talent, and resources to achieving solutions.”

Overall, the RCR shows that Tampa Bay has had year-over-year improvements in 36 areas. The research tracks the economic competitiveness and growth of the region in 67 indicators that fall into five categories that researchers describe as “drivers” of the regional economy: economic vitality, innovation, infrastructure, talent, and civic quality.

USF’s research utilizes analysis of real-time data to help better understand workforce and quality of life trends. Data signals such as Google Trends and Twitter sentiments derive a holistic picture of the inclusive economic health of the region.

“A shared focus on critical themes can help us move the needle on our biggest challenges,” said GJ de Vreede, interim dean at the USF Muma College of Business. “We are proud to co-produce State of the Region each year.”

Both reports can be found at stateoftheregion.com.

USF’s 2023 Tampa Bay E-Insights Report is compiled by professors and graduate students in the Muma College of Business, with support from Florida Blue. Those researchers included Dr. Balaji Padmanabhan, the director of the Center for Analytics and Creativity; Dr. Shivendu Shivendu, an associate professor; and Roohid Ahmed Syed, an information systems doctoral student.

Research for the 2023 Regional Competitiveness Report is led by Dr. Lucia Farriss, Senior Director of Research, Analytics, and Public Policy at the Tampa Bay Partnership.

The 19 comparison communities selected reflect both peer and aspirational communities. Factors such as population and demography, the size of the economy, and the presence of regional assets were considered. Comparison communities include Minneapolis- St. Paul, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Austin, Houston, and Charlotte. To see a full list of the cities, go here.

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