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October 7, 2015

The Texas-Florida Connection

Hold Your Horses, Gov. Rick Scott

Can Florida emulate Texas in creating jobs? Here's a comparison.

Cynthia Barnett | 9/28/2011


Dell manufacturing facility
Dell manufacturing facility in Austin [Photo: Dell Inc.]
Aside from basic location and infrastructure needs, most companies' top priority is workforce. Compared with Florida, Texas cities have larger shares of the workforce in engineering, a spinoff from the oil industry, says David Denslow, a distinguished service professor in the University of Florida's economics department. The only MSA in Florida with as significant a concentration of engineers is Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville. However, the skilled numbers are on the increase in Florida, for example, with a growing training and simulation sector in Orlando and stepped up biotech expertise in the Gainesville and Palm Beach areas.

Florida also may be better positioned to outcompete Texas and other states on the types of high-wage, new economy jobs that require a highly educated bilingual population. Florida metros tend to have higher numbers of educated immigrants or a good balance of high skill and low skill, according to the Brookings Institution. Texas metro areas tend to have larger percentages of low-skilled immigrant workers — in some cases nearly half the labor force.

Fewer retirees, more working-age residents and a surging population mean more organic job growth for Texas. But not all is the sort Florida should covet: 9.5% of the Texas hourly workforce is paid at or below minimum wage, tying it with Mississippi for the largest share of minimum-wage workers in the nation. In Florida, the share is 6.7%, closer to the national average of 6%.

Jobs Gained
(Jan. 1 through June 30, 2011)
Texas: 117,600 (highest jobs growth in the U.S.)
Florida: 85,500 (third-highest jobs growth behind Texas and California)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor

Unemployment Rate
Florida - 10.7%
Texas - 8.4%
National - 9.1%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor, July 2011

Go to Links What do you think about the whole Florida -vs- Texas debate? Let us know, click to comment at the end of this article.

Tags: Politics & Law, Around Florida, Government/Politics & Law

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