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Top 10 Industries Driving Growth in Florida

Updated January 18, 2023
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As the third largest state in the nation with over 21 million people, Florida is helping drive the U.S. economy through consistent expansion in its own industries. While tourism is undoubtedly the top money maker, the State of Swyft Report concludes steady growth through new business formations in multiple industries. With a recently touted $1 trillion GDP, Florida is building an economy that will continue to sustain and propel new business development.

By reviewing Swyft Filings’s new business formations in Florida throughout 2018 so far, we determined which industries are currently driving the most business growth in the state:

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1) Construction

Florida's construction industry has been steadily growing over the past few years. In 2017, Florida showed an increase of over 7% in new construction jobs added, making it 4th in the nation in job growth. The Northeast Florida Builders Association reported an increase in new building permits issued—up more than 1,000 from the previous year to almost 9,000 permits.

2) Retail

The retail industry in Florida is holding strong and moving forward, bringing in over $3 billion in sales during 2017. New retail businesses are filling the voids left by big-box retailers who have vacated shopping centers in major cities. South Florida is showing the strongest expansion in retail, with the Miami area netting almost $900 million in sales last year.

3) Consulting

The consulting industry in Florida has made significant headway in the last few years—in a recent report on the fastest growing consulting firms around the world, three Florida firms found themselves among the top 50. Orlando is fast becoming a growing hub for multi-million dollar consulting firms like Deloitte, KPMG, and ADP.

4) Real Estate

Florida’s real estate industry has been steadily increasing, particularly in South Florida where luxury home sales have been consistently growing. And in the northern part of the state, the average home price in Jacksonville has jumped over seven percent since last year. Additionally, the commercial side of the real estate industry in Florida comes in third place in the country—a positive effect from the expansion in other industries (retail, consulting, healthcare, professional).

5) Entertainment

Miami is seeing the largest volume of new entertainment business formations in the state, possibly bolstered by the influx of tourists over the last year — a record-breaking 15 million visitors flooded Miami and spent over $25 million in the city. The leisure and hospitality industry added almost 150,000 new jobs over the past year, further bolstering the city’s economy.

6) Transportation

Recent reports show a climbing trend in Florida’s transportation infrastructure, especially with the top state in the nation. A continued strengthening in the economy has increased the need for multiple types of transportation services. Recent data shows a steady growth of a little over 1% in the last year.

7) Professional

The professional services industry is making its mark in Florida, currently accounting for over ten percent of the state’s workforce. While there is certainly expansion across the state, Orlando is the nation’s leader in new job growth, with the professional industry seeing the most jobs created—more than 13,000 last year. The steady climb that began in 2013 is still moving upwards into 2018.

8) Health Care

Florida’s booming healthcare industry aided the state in besting the U.S. in income growth in 2016. The industry was also the leader for state income growth at over five percent from the previous year. In 2015, the healthcare industry was responsible for over 900,000 new jobs and almost $130 billion in state revenue.

9) Technology

Florida has a rapidly expanding tech industry that has moved up to fourth place in the country in new job formations with over 12,000 new positions in 2017. Technology makes up 8% of Florida’s economy (almost $40 billion), including over $1 billion in venture funding for start-up businesses in burgeoning tech hub Miami.

10) Food Service

Florida’s food service industry is steadily on the rebound from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that devastated areas in the state in 2017. While citrus farmers are reported the worst season in decades, Florida is still lead the country in restaurant sales during 2017. Additionally, Miami is seeing steady growth with a new restaurant trend—food halls—that melds the concept of food courts with a fine dining experience.

Methodology analyzed new business formations in Florida between January 1, 2018 and July 27, 2018 to determine which industries saw the largest volume of new businesses in the state.

Originally published on October 26, 2022, and last edited on January 18, 2023.

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