January 30, 2015

Southwest Florida

Job gains in Tampa Bay

| 1/2/2014

Hire and higher

Between August 2012 and August 2013, Hillsborough County gained more than 24,000 jobs. During that time, the county’s unemployment rate fell from 8. 8% to 6.7% — and that’s before the string of major job-related announcements that came later in the year: USAA: In November, financial services provider USAA announced it would build a $164.3-million, 420,000-sq.-ft. facility in Brandon and create 1,215 jobs by 2019.

Amazon: In October, Amazon said it plans to employ 1,000 at a planned 1.1-million-sq.-ft., $200-million fulfillment center near Ruskin.

HealthPlan Services: In September, HealthPlan Services said it will invest $34 million to expand its Tampa facilities and create 1,000 jobs by 2018.

New York Life: In August, the insurance company announced it will add up to 300 employees within three years in Tampa, where the company already employs 900.

Bristol-Myers Squibb: Also, in mid-July, the drugmaker unveiled plans to open a 70,000-sq.-ft. facility in Tampa, where it will employ 250 this year and 575 by 2017.

County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan says the county’s job growth is reaching “heights we’ve never had before.”

He credits the county’s job incentives program and a coordinated effort between local governments, economic development groups and other entities, including the Tampa Port and Tampa International Airport.

“I think that’s the primary reason we’ve enjoyed one home run after another,” Hagan says. “This is my 11th year on the board, and the spirit of collaboration and cooperation has never been stronger than it is right now.”

Amazon is planning to build a 1. 1-million-sq.-ft., $200-million fulfillment center near Ruskin.

OBITUARY: U. S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young

A little more than a week after announcing that his declining health would keep him from running for a 23rd term representing Florida’s 13th congressional district, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Pinellas County died on Oct. 18. He was 82. Young, best known for his work in support of military troops and veterans and securing money for Tampa Bay-area projects, had been the longest-serving Republican in Congress. Voters will choose his replacement March 11. Candidates include Democrat Alex Sink, who had to move from Hillsborough County to Pinellas County to qualify, and Republicans David Jolly, a lobbyist and former member of Young’s legal staff, and state Rep. Kathleen Peters.

PROFILE: Ex-IT Technologies

Naples-based Ex-IT Technologies steps in when other companies want to get rid of old IT equipment. Ex-IT buys old hardware, refurbishes it and then sells it to other businesses. The company employs 16, up from four in 2008, when the company was called SMS Memory Module Assembly. Revenue is also up: $3.6 million in 2013, a 24% increase from the prior year.

Tags: Southwest

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