Economic yearbook 2011
Stuart / Martin County
|Martin Population: 144,452|
|Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 0.99%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $55,480|
Martin County made a zoning change to ease the way for life science companies wanting to locate near the research institutions in adjoining Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. Life science and energy companies are interested in the county. "There are people who have been at the cusp for a while and are finally ready," says Crystal Stiles, co-director of the Business Development Board of Martin County. The county will get a job boost when the long-delayed $73.4-million Indian Street bridge, said to be the largest federal stimulus project on the Treasure Coast, begins construction. Snowbird visits and tourism are doing well. "We're looking a lot better," says Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce President Joe Catrambone. For example: STS Aviation Group CEO Philip Anson Jr. expects to hire another 15 this year at the staffing, engineering, parts and maintenance company's Jensen Beach headquarters, adding to the company's 80 in Martin County and 1,100 nationally.
Vero Beach/ Indian River County
|Indian River Population: 139,670|
|Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 1.26%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $52,344|
In the first two months of the year, NetBoss Technologies in Sebastian hired nine people, bringing its total headcount to 55 with plans to hire 10 more. "Business right now is looking very promising," says Jim Odom, CEO of the network management and IT services assurance company. Indian River needs much more of the same. A strong hospitality sector and groundbreaking for an ethanol plant provide some promise for a county that began the year with 13.6% unemployment, one of the highest rates in Florida. "Reducing the unemployment rate, absolutely that's No. 1," says Helene Caseltine, economic development director for the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce.
The county and its municipalities passed a tax abatement measure late last year to encourage job creation. Major employers such as Disney's Vero Beach Resort, a CVS distribution center and the Indian River Medical Center and Sebastian River Medical Center provide stability. With a shortage of suitable sites for large commercial or industrial end-users to locate, county commissioners approved a rare change to the county's urban service boundary to open 575 agricultural acres west of Interstate 95 for development of research parks, major distribution centers and so on. The attorney for the landowners, Christopher Marine, says "there have been inquiries, nothing formally" from prospects.
Disney's Vero Beach Resort is a major employer. [Photo: Disney]