Eliminating equity gaps in Tampa Bay could add $50B to economy, report says

Marine Boat Ship Canal Downtown Urban Metro Skyline Tampa Bay Florida
Equity gaps are making Tampa Bay less competitive.

A newly released report from the Tampa Bay Partnership highlights the economic impact of eliminating racial and ethnic disparities among residents within the Tampa Bay community.

The Regional Equity Report, which includes analysis by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, found that eliminating critical equity gaps for Tampa Bay’s Black and Hispanic residents could add up to 375,000 new jobs and $50 billion to the regional economy.

In most categories, the report showed that Tampa Bay’s Black and Hispanic residents lagged their White neighbors. In Tampa Bay, the median hourly wage for Black workers is $16.42 — 21% less than White workers, who’s median wage is $20.90, according to the report. The median hourly wage for Hispanics of all races is $15.42 — 24% less than that of White workers.

TBRPC researchers modeled an alternative scenario where outcomes for Black and Hispanic residents equaled those of White residents in key metrics related to earnings, educational attainment and home ownership. The report compared Tampa Bay to a set of 19 peer communities across the country.

This analysis showed a 13.88% increase in regional employment (375,000 new jobs), a 20% increase in the Gross Regional Product among the region’s eight counties ($50 billion) and an 11.38% increase in labor force, as 266,000 workers return to the labor market and people migrate to Tampa Bay for economic opportunity.

The model also saw a personal income increase of $6,470 per capita, or more than $51 billion across the region.

“The data shows us that a more equitable economy would not only make our residents more prosperous, but also enhance our competitiveness as region,” Partnership President and CEO Rick Homans said in a news release. “We hope this new report, particularly when paired with our previous research, will help our leaders develop thoughtful and deliberate strategies to close the gaps and eliminate the disparities in Tampa Bay.”

While the model predicts that prices of certain goods and services could rise to support an increase in wages, the overall impact on the regional economy is positive.

The equity dividend is biggest in the county with the most racial diversity, Hillsborough, with a 29% gain in Gross Regional Product.

The report also analyzed findings in the context of the Partnership’s annual Regional Competitiveness Report and identified improvements in Tampa Bay’s rankings among its comparison set.

The model region would move into first place in the job growth rate, where it is currently ranked 11th, and gross regional product growth rate, where it is currently ranked 12th. The region would also maintain the top spot in net migration. The gross regional product per capita would also increase substantially, but it would not be enough to boost Tampa Bay’s last-place ranking.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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