A recent Financial News & Daily Record article featured JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot where he spoke on the Jacksonville region’s low unemployment rate combined with its ability to attract new industry and healthy real estate market that has created a perfect storm of economic vitality in Northeast Florida.
“Unemployment is below 4 percent, which means we are at full employment,” Mallot said. “We have relatively low taxes, an unbelievable amount of things to do and the support of our government, so it is a good place to live and do business.”
Recent economic development examples he cited included automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which both are expanding their presence here, as is Anheuser-Busch, which built a $175 million plant to manufacture aluminum bottles.
And no Jacksonville economic development briefing would be complete without mentioning Amazon, which is hiring 5,000 area workers. With Amazon came about 1,000 positions paying between $50,000 and $100,000 year, Mallot said, but the vast majority of the jobs pay between $12 and $15 per hour. Those wages, he added, will impact other businesses seeking quality workers.
Mallot said new entertainment facilities such as Daily’s Place and Topgolf help attract corporate interest, as does the weather, the river, beaches and the addition of new shopping and restaurants at developments such as St. Johns Town Center.
Downtown projects, such as The District planned for the Southbank, also enhance the region’s appeal. Mallot added that vertical construction has begun at Durbin Park in St. Johns County at Florida 9B and Race Track Road, a development characterized as another St. Johns Town Center, only larger.
“We are in great shape, and we will continue to be successful because this is one of the most attractive places to live in the country,” he said.