TAMPA, FL — Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday announced that Florida’s 15 seaports have added 200,000 new jobs across the state since 2012.
“Our 15 world-class seaports are not only a major economic engine for job creation in Florida, but they also help strengthen Florida’s position as the gateway to Latin America,” said Scott, speaking at Port Tampa Bay. “We are competing in a global economy, but no other state can match the combination of Florida’s transportation infrastructure, business-friendly environment and location.”
Scott’s announcement was based on a new report released Tuesday by the Florida Ports Council that also found:
- The number of new jobs at Florida ports increased by more than 25 percent over the time period from 700,000 to almost 900,000.
- Florida ports account for $117.6 billion in economic activity, up 15 percent from $101.9 billion.
- Related state and local tax revenue increased to $4.3 billion from $2.4 billion.
- Personal income increased 30 percent to $40 billion from $30.3 billion.
Scott’s announcement followed a report last week in the Tampa Bay Times that said while Florida added the third most private-sector jobs of any state in the country during November, the number of new jobs in the state had slowed from the height of the economic recovery based on data collected by payroll processor ADP with Moody’s Analytics.
With respect to the port system, state officials said that Florida has invested more than $1 billion since 2011 to increase capacity and to position the state to better compete with other ports in the United States and expand Florida’s role as a global hub for trade.
Officials said that an additional $3.7 billion in state, local and private funding is planned for further port capital improvement projects over the next five years.
Such projects typically produce a 7-1 return in state and local tax revenue, according to state officials.
Doug Wheeler, Florida Ports Council president and CEO described the added jobs as immediate and long-term job gains.
“The state of Florida’s seaports is strong, and our role in international trade as the gateway to the Americas continues to grow stronger,” he said.
Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson, said that the jobs are the result of the infrastructure improvements.
“Now that Florida ports have the infrastructure to accommodate significantly larger vessels carrying more cargo and cruise passengers, there is a growing need for workers resulting in a recent increase of nearly 200,000 jobs,” said Anderson, who is also chairman of the Florida Ports Council.