Though Brevard County enjoys a mixed business environment and is home to a variety of businesses both large and small, the Kennedy Space Center and its space program provides for a large impact on the area’s economy.
While some just think of NASA when it comes to the space program, the reality is that it is a venture of a number of companies. Firms such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Astrotech are all contracted companies that play a major role in creating and implementing many aspects of the space program.
What’s more, space tourism has become a significant part of life in the area, with many companies, such as Zero-Gravity and Space Adventures, taking advantage of one of the biggest tourist attractions in central Florida.
Each launch brings in approximately 200,000 tourists and stimulates the economy with an additional $12 million. The Space Coast Office of Tourism estimates that 8,100 overnight guests spend $3.5 million over 3.5 days on accommodations, dining, souvenirs and other products and services; 150,000 venture into the area for a day, spending approximately $7.2 million; and nearly 42,000 local residents spend $1.3 million.
The Kennedy Space Center is the largest employer in Brevard County, with around 15,000 workers. The county is also home to an extremely eclectic business climate, attracting a variety of companies from all over. Its great location near a wealth of major roadways, the Florida East Coast Railway, Port Canaveral and Melbourne International Airport, as well as its appealing year-round climate have continuously brought in more and more businesses looking to relocate.
Hailing as one of the country’s fastest growing regions, Brevard County boasts a strong, well-educated and highly skilled workforce of 261,417. The county’s unemployment population is 8,553, bringing the unemployment rate down to an impressive 3.3 percent – well below the national unemployment rate of 4.8 percent.
Over the past couple years, Brevard County has been the recipient of many acclaimed recognitions: Inc. Magazine acknowledged the county as the top place in Florida and the number six place to do business in the nation in 2005; 2005 also brought about a ranking of 27th in job growth out of 150 metropolitan areas in the U.S. by Forbes; and the American Electronics Association and NASDAQ recognized the county as eighth in the country for concentration of high-tech professions.