May 20, 2024

Community Portrait

Orlando & Orange County

More than just gathering data, we're trying to capture elements that make each community distinctive.

Florida Hospital network includes 2,800 beds.

By far, hospitality and food service remain the largest industry group in Orange County, with nearly 100,000 employees, followed by retail trade. The county’s unemployment rate has risen to 10.8% in the economic downturn — the same rate as the state’s as a whole. The steepest job loses have been in the construction industry, followed by professional and business services. The only industries growing jobs this year — and the rates are slight — are healthcare and education.

» Economic Engines

» Tourism and hospitality: Orlando has a love-hate relationship with its largest industry. Everyone knows Orlando would not be what it is without Disney, yet tourism-related wages and opportunities lag the city’s aspirations. Including the three-county metro area of Orange, Osceola and Seminole, tourism and hospitality provide 399,000 jobs, about a quarter of all employment in the area. Some 49 million visitors came to Orlando/Orange County in 2008 — the number was up slightly even though statewide tourism rates dropped 2.3% over the previous year. Industry officials estimate the visitors spent about $31 billion.

» Healthcare and life sciences: The health industry is centered around major hospital networks Florida Hospital and Orlando Health, which oversee 2,800 and 1,780 beds respectively. The sector is getting a rocket boost: The Medical City under way at Lake Nona is expected to turbo-charge biotechnology and life-sciences research and industry with the help of UCF’s College of Medicine, Burnham Institute for Medical Research, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Veterans Affairs hospital, the University of Florida research center and Orlando Health’s Cancer Research Institute. By year 10, the cluster could create 30,000 jobs with $7.6 billion in economic impact.

» Financial services and financial technology: Orlando is one of the top metros in the nation for financial services and technologies companies, with more than 50,000 workers employed by companies such as Fiserv, Harland, Metavante, Fidelity, Bank of New York Mellon, Charles Schwab and Chase. The industry also has attracted software development, data processing and information retrieval companies, of which there are more than 1,000 in the area.

» Modeling, simulation and training: Metro Orlando’s roots in military training have helped grow the region into an epicenter for modeling, simulation and training research and businesses. The sector includes the National Center of Excellence for Simulation; UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training; more than 100 companies; and nearly 17,000 workers who manufacture about $2.5 billion a year in applications from aviation and aerospace to homeland security to medical technologies. Gaming software company Electronic Arts’ Orlando facility produces some of the company’s most popular games.


» Largest Private Employers

» Walt Disney, 62,000 employees

» Florida Hospital (Adventist Health System), 16,000

» Universal Orlando, 13,000

» Orlando Regional Healthcare System, 10,000

» Lockheed Martin, 7,200

» Marriott International, 6,300

» Central Florida Investments, 6,155

» Darden Restaurants, 5,950 locally

» SeaWorld Orlando, 5,500

» Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, 5,350

» Rosen Hotels and Resorts, 4,100

Tags: North Central

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