2018 Economic Yearbook
Northeast Florida: Snapshot of the region's economic strengths and challenges, people to watch
People to Watch
Peter Rummell: The real estate developer best known for spearheading new community projects for Walt Disney and St. Joe is developing a healthy community called The District on the Southbank of the St. Johns River. Rummell’s group has been negotiating with city officials over the purchase of the property at a former Jacksonville Electric Authority site.
Lauren Poe: Over the past year, Gainesville has implemented an autonomous bus service to shuttle passengers between downtown and the University of Florida and entered into a partnership with the university that is providing $300,000 in community research grants. Mayor Lauren Poe says a goal is to address economic disparities in the community.
Anthony Hucker: Hucker last year became CEO of Southeastern Grocers, operator of Winn-Dixie and three other supermarket chains. Southeastern’s credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s last year as the company tried to restructure $900 million in debt, leading to speculation the company could be headed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
Eric Green: The former senior director of government and external affairs of JaxPort became CEO in 2017. In his former role, Green led the effort to obtain authorization and funding for a harbor-deepening project. The dredging project is underway this year despite opposition from environmentalists.
John Peyton: The former Jacksonville mayor has kept a low profile since leaving office in 2011 but has re-emerged as chairman of the chamber of commerce. Peyton, CEO of Gate Petroleum, says downtown development will be a focus this year.
James Foote: Hunter Harrison brought in Foote, his former associate, as COO at CSX in October. And when Harrison died in December after just nine months on the job, Foote was promoted to succeed Harrison as CEO. Foote is considered a devoted follower of Harrison’s operating philosophy of precision scheduled railroading. It will be up to Foote to get the railroad back on track after Harrison’s implementation of the system got off to a bumpy start in 2017, with freight customers complaining about service disruptions as CSX cut about 3,000 jobs.
County Population: 268,019, +5.8% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 16.5%
Per Capita Income: $43,839
Gainesville approved a proposal from a developer to build a sixstory, 136-room Hyatt hotel for $26 million. The hotel will be built on a downtown parking lot that has been earmarked for development for several years.
County Population: 28,425, +5.3% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 10.5%
Per Capita Income: $30,355
The small community west of Jacksonville continued to add jobs in 2017, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.4% in December, down from 4.6% at the end of 2016.
County Population: 27,900, +3.7% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 7.1%
Per Capita Income: $29,620
A fire destroyed the Tatum Brothers Sawmill in Lawtey. No one was hurt in the fire, and the company, which employs 50, is working to rebuild the mill.
County Population: 216,968, +10.4% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 19.4%
Per Capita Income: $42,111
Maple Street Biscuit is moving its headquarters from downtown Jacksonville to Clay County. Founder Scott Moore says the new office is more centrally located for employees of the growing restaurant chain, which started in 2012 and now has more than 20 locations stretching from Central Florida to Tennessee.
County Population: 70,444, +4.3% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 21.7%
Per Capita Income: $34,560
North Florida Land Trust received a donation from the Nowicki family of 522 acres west of the Osceola National Forest and two miles south of the Georgia border. The property sits along the Ocala to Osceola, or O2O, wildlife corridor and is part of a major conservation initiative for the trust.
County Population: 946,979, +6.7% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 16.5%
Per Capita Income: $45,080
The Downtown Investment Authority is seeking proposals for a riverfront convention center and hotel on the site of the former city hall and courthouse buildings.
County Population: 112,472, +12.4% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 34.8%
Per Capita Income: $43,705
Flagler Executive Airport completed construction of an extended 5,500-foot runway and other improvements.
County Population: 17,939, +6.0% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 15.7%
Per Capita Income: $32,759
The Trenton City Commission is moving forward with an ordinance to allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays. Officials hope the move will attract more visitors and increase tax revenue.