September 25, 2017

Community Portrait

Sarasota County

| 1/1/2011
St. Armands Circle
St. Armands Circle [Photo: Bill Speer]

Economic Life


» Sarasota County’s economy is dominated by small businesses: Eight of 10 businesses have fewer than 10 employees. The county also has a high number of self-employed people.

» The county has traditionally ranked high in retail sales per capita.

» The top five industry classes for employment are retail trade, healthcare, construction, administrative/waste services, and accommodation/food services.

» Compared to the U.S. overall, Sarasota has an above-average share of jobs both in health and social services and in leisure and hospitality services.

» Largely because of housing prices, the cost of living in Sarasota is higher than in most Florida cities, according to cost-of-living indexes.

» Sarasota County takes part in Florida Economic Gardening Institute’s Grow Florida program and is a regional hub for second-stage businesses seeking assistance.


Jobs in the construction industry nearly tripled between 1995 and 2005. Despite the recent contraction, “the local economy remains perilously dependent on the construction industry as a source of jobs,” according to a report prepared for Sarasota County government by a University of Michigan economist.


Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Sarasota Memorial Hospital employs one of the world’s best microscopes.

More than 17% of jobs in Sarasota are in the health sector, compared to roughly 11% nationwide.

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Venice Regional Medical Center, Doctors Hospital and Englewood Community Hospital are among the area’s biggest employers. Venice Regional is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 100 hospitals for heart care.

A task force established by the Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County is researching ways to stimulate “medical tourism” by capitalizing on the area’s medical facilities, including the Dattoli Cancer Center, a prostate cancer center. The non-profit Roskamp Institute conducts research into Alzheimer’s disease and other neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. The Silverstein Institute treats a range of ear, nose and throat disorders.

Digital Access

Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.


Florida Business News

  • Breaking News: Nova Southeastern University calls $200 million commitment from Patel Family 'transformational'

    Today, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) announces the largest philanthropic gift in its history from Tampa-area cardiologist Dr. Kiran C. Patel and his wife, pediatrician Dr. Pallavi Patel. The commitment from the Patel Family Foundation includes a $50 million gift and an additional $150 million for real estate and facilities. The money will be used to expand the university's programs in osteopathic medicine and health care sciences, and also to develop a new 27-acre campus for NSU in Clearwater, Fla. The Patels are renowned in Florida for their philanthropy, community service and entrepreneurship.

    “This gift and additional investment will enrich NSU’s ability to educate highly-qualified physicians and health care professionals who understand how the medical disciplines can and must work together. These future leaders will represent the cultural diversity of our region, our nation and our world so that they can better serve their patients and communities,” said NSU President Dr. George Hanbury.

    Their $50 million gift, one of the seven-largest to any Florida university in history, catapults NSU to more than 84% of its goal to raise $250 million by 2020 for its Realizing Potential philanthropic campaign.

    Read more at the news release, here.

Florida Trend Video Pick

Haunted maze at Merritt Square Mall
Haunted maze at Merritt Square Mall

Take a tour behind the scenes at the Frightmaze Hotel at the Merritt Square Mall.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Are you still being cautious to prevent mosquito-borne diseases? (i.e. protective clothing, insect repellent)

  • Yes, very cautious
  • Sometimes, if I remember
  • No, not worried

See Results

Ballot Box