November 29, 2014

2012 Economic Yearbook

Central Florida Economic Indicators

Jerry Jackson | 4/16/2012

Lake Mary/Sanford/Seminole County


The 118-foot, 3,500-year-old tree known as "The Senator" burned earlier this year. [Photo: Joe Burbank]
The strategic plan for economic development crafted in 2011 by a task force of more than two dozen business leaders calls for the business community to shoulder more leadership. Part of the challenge is to balance the need for boosting the ratio of jobs to residents while preserving the county's quality of life. Seminole's motto is "Florida's Natural Choice," and eco-tourism has long been a significant economic contributor — a park in Longwood, for example, was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1929. A towering, 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree in the park became a symbol of the fragility of the ecosystem when it burned to the ground in January. The loss of the cypress — one of the world's largest — devastated many who grew up visiting it and sparked calls for more protection of the area's natural resources.

Seminole's highly regarded school system and cities are making do with less again this year. Sanford fears another decrease of $1 million or more in property tax collections, but the community is benefiting from downtown revitalization efforts. Lake Mary and Winter Springs are helped by their proximity to the University of Central Florida's campuses and high-tech developments.

Businesses to Watch

» Convergys: The management solutions company, with about 1,800 employees, says it will add another 414 customer service and technical support positions at its Lake Mary center this year.

Seminole Population: 439,890
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 1.37%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
18.07% 7.02% 27.06% 35.11% 12.73%
Per Capita Income: $46,014

Kissimmee/Osceola County

Osceola County sealed a deal that pays off this year as Colt Manufacturing opens a regional headquarters and begins filling more than 60 jobs paying an average of about $45,000. The weapons maker is investing $2.5 million in return for rent concessions and $250,000 from a state incentive fund.

Says County Commission Chairman John Quiñones: "Attracting an American icon like Colt ... is a real coup for our economic development efforts." AES Inc., an Indiana company that overhauls electronics, weapons systems and accessories for the military and prime contractors, also announced it will move to Osceola, bringing 20 jobs paying an average of $60,526. Look for more relocation interest driven in part by the local expansion of Valencia College and its reputation for workforce education. The college is designing specialized training courses for Colt.

Tourism continues to gain importance, and Fun Spot Action Park in Kissimmee is expanding, while agriculture struggles with citrus pests, competition and higher costs.

Osceola Population: 289,736
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 2.57%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
20.93% 8.27% 26.89% 32.56% 11.36%
Per Capita Income: $27,688

Lake County

With its economy driven in recent years mostly by residential development, Lake County took a severe hit with the collapse in construction and housing prices, but the county's other main source of income — transfer payments to retirees — has been a stabilizing factor.

Now both are poised to grow as residential construction gradually picks up, mainly in the Villages development. Leesburg, the county's largest city, hopes to regain momentum and grow jobs by developing a Florida Energy and Aerospace Park near Florida's Turnpike

Lake Population: 314,977
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 1.77%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
17.02% 5.75% 19.91% 32.42% 24.90%
Per Capita Income: $35,205

Tags: Central

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