Florida’s Capital City is entering what could be one of the biggest growth spurts in modern history. That fact carries both challenges and opportunities for the area’s private and public sectors. The news came at Wednesday morning’s (1/27) economic forecast breakfast meeting hosted by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.
Leon County’s population has begun a significant upswing, although that increase isn’t expected to be even across the demographic spectrum.
“A lot more on a percentage basis of older people; a lot less in the really young people expected coming into Leon County between now and 2030,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research at the Florida Chamber Foundation.
And even though he sees the local population picking up more older folks than younger, he still foresees the bulk of all those new Tallahasseeans needing to find work.
“Under the medium population forecast in 2020, we need to produce another 9,400 jobs. By 2030, almost 22,000 jobs,” he told the local chamber audience. “If you go with the high forecast – and we are closer to the high than we are the medium right now, it’ll be between 23,000 and 46,000.”
Parrish had high hopes those jobs can be created. For one thing, he sees an aging trend in the population as helping fuel job growth.
“There are opportunities for people who are contractors that do aging-in-place,” he noted after his talk. “There’s great opportunities to have, especially as our parents get too old to take care of themselves, to keep them in this community and it actually at the same time provides jobs for young people coming out of nursing programs and other programs in this area.”
But Parrish is also seeing a flood of new businesses birthed by young entrepreneurs and raised to success in various new business incubators such as DOMI Station.
“Leon County has actually taken some really good steps. I notice they’re an investor in DOMI Station, which is a really interesting place. We just had a spinoff company bought and the company is going to create a company here in Tallahassee because they bought a little company out of DOMI Station.”
That really excites Tallahassee Chamber President and CEO Sue Dick. Especially since she sees an almost inexhaustible parade of dynamic young entrepreneurs being groomed at the city’s institutions of higher learning.
“We heard today about the students coming out of the master’s programs that are staying here in Tallahassee,” she said following Parrish’s talk. “It’s all driven by talent and workforce and that’s why we continue to see such a positive growth in our community.”
A growth that’s accelerating beyond anything imaginable even ten years ago.