Situated within the Tampa Bay Metropolitan region—the 12th largest media market in the U.S.—Manatee County continues to be a vastly appealing place for businesses of all sizes and types. A number of attributes contribute to the advantageous economic climate of Manatee County, including its high quality of life that attracts a diverse, highly skilled labor force and business base; strong, established infrastructure; excellent transportation options through major highways, international airports and Port Manatee; and outstanding support and training opportunities through such entities as the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and its Economic Development Council, area institutions of higher learning and a multitude of local business-oriented organizations.
The county’s economy is fueled by a diverse base including manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, service industries, high-technology companies, business and financial services and many other prominent sectors. Large and small, internationally known and locally owned, companies of all kinds are successfully blended together within Manatee County.
Port Manatee is one of Florida’s largest deepwater seaports, handling approximately nine million tons of cargo each year. Located in the eastern Gulf of Mexico at the entrance to Tampa Bay, Port Manatee is the closest U.S. seaport to the Panama Canal, providing shippers with speedy access to Pacific Rim markets.
The port fulfilled its pledge to maximize the advantage of its proximity to the Panama Canal by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Panama Canal Authority in 2009. The strategic alliance helps the port achieve increased trade by soliciting shippers worldwide through collaborative marketing efforts with the Panama Canal.
Port Manatee is a leading economic engine, adding more than $2.3 billion annually in regional economic impact and supporting more than 24,000 jobs.
The port is actively seeking to attract the development of logistically focused manufacturing, processing, warehousing and distribution facilities to the Port Manatee Improvement District—a highly-incentivized area located just outside the port’s gates, featuring nearly 5,000 acres of largely undeveloped land.
Stretching over 1,100 acres, the port offers more than one million square feet of public warehouse and office space, featuring 202,000 square feet of refrigerated space and 30,000 square feet of freezer space. Its intermodal advantages allow it to maintain its status as the nation’s second largest terminal operation for the powerhouse company Fresh Del Monte Produce.
Port Manatee is designated Foreign Trade Zone #169, enabling international shippers and manufacturers to benefit from lucrative tariff advantages.
TOP 15 LARGEST PUBLIC/PRIVATE EMPLOYERS IN MANATEE COUNTY
Company — Product/Service — # of Employees Manatee County School Board — Public education — 5,300
Manatee County Government — County government — 1,860
Beall’s Inc. — Corp. headquarters — 1,500 & distribution center
Manatee Memorial Hospital — Hospital — 1,500
Tropicana Products, Inc. — Orange juice — 1,400 & juice beverages
Blake Medical Center — Hospital — 1,156
Manatee County Sheriff’s Department — Law enforcement — 1,046
Publix — Grocery store chain — 860
City of Bradenton — City government — 529
SYSCO West Coast Florida, Inc. — Food distribution — 520
Hoveround Corp. — Power wheelchairs & scooters — 484
Westminister Communities of Bradenton — Assisted living communities — 480
IMG Academies — International sports — 468 training facility
Manatee Glens — Mental health & — 465 addiction services
State College of Florida Manatee Sarasota — Post-secondary education — 431
Source: Economic Development Council - Manatee Chamber of Commerce, www.ManateeEDC.com
Manatee County Labor Force — — Average for 2009
Total Labor Force — — 145,437
Employment — — 128,718
Unemployment — — 16,719
Unemployment Rate — — 11.5%
Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation July 2010
Major Employment Sectors — — % of Total Employees
Professional & Business Services — — 18.3%
Education & Health Services — — 17.5%
Retail Trade — — 13.6%
Administration & Support Services — 12.1%
Healthcare & Social Assistance — — 11.8%
Manufacturing — — 8.8%
Accommodation & Food Service — — 8.6%
Construction — — 6.9%
Source: 2008 ES202, Agency for Workforce Innovation—Updated July 2010