2nd Best Economy in the Nation? You’re Living In It
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2nd Best Economy in the Nation? You’re Living In It

2nd Best Economy in the Nation? You’re Living In It

Record breaking median home sales prices, lowering unemployment, shops and restaurants full. The scene on Florida’s Space Coast in 2021 is a sight we longed for in 2010. 

For the last decade, the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, along with its community partners, have been building a resilient, sustainable, world-class economy. Although the region, along with the rest of the nation, was tested by the headwinds of a global pandemic, the Space Coast continues to see positive momentum. 

And now, we are being recognized on a national scale as one of the nation’s best performing economies. 

The Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) rocketed up (pun intended) the rankings of the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities, rising to second in the prestigious index for 2021, which tracks where America’s jobs are created and sustained. What does this mean? The Space Coast has the second strongest economy in the nation. 

From 2018 to 2020, the Space Coast jumped an astounding 47 spots to make the top 10. This year’s report which puts our region just one spot shy of No. 1, attributes the Space Coast’s continued ascent to strong wage and job growth, which are third and eighth in the nation, respectively.

According to Milken, “the Space Coast improved on last year’s breakout performance, transforming one-year gains into long-term jobs and wage growth. This continued success is largely due to a diversified, high-tech industrial base, including a significant part of the national aerospace and defense industries.”

And diversification is key. The influx of private aerospace companies, including EDC project announcements Embraer, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin’s Orion program and Fleet Ballistic Missile Headquarters, and Northrop Grumman, to name a few, have positioned the Space Coast to navigate the headwinds of an economic setback, such as a global pandemic. As of April 2021, the Space Coast’s unemployment rate was at 4.2%, compared to the national average of 6%, while companies continue to hire in droves.  

The report underscored, “The top-performing metros have cohesive strategies allowing them to weather economic storms and leverage their assets more effectively. The experience of these metros also provides a benchmark for leaders in other regions seeking to promote sustainable growth and prosperity.”

The Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities index tracks the economic performance of about 400 U.S. MSA’s using an outcomes-based set of metrics, which include job creation, wage gains, and high-tech GDP growth to evaluate the performance of these cities. To read the full report and to learn more, visit Best-Cities.org

To learn more about the EDC, visit SpaceCoastEDC.org 


Lynda L. Weatherman, is president & CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, which is responsible for the attraction of new business and investment and retention of existing industry throughout the Space Coast. Under Ms. Weatherman’s leadership, the EDC has secured over $1.8B in capital investment from the announcement of over 50 business development projects over a 10-year period.


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