The Florida city of Jacksonville has become one of the employment hotspots not only in the Sunshine State but in the US as a whole. Creating thousands of new jobs, particularly in the technological sectors and attracting multinationals, the city is also registering some of the highest increases in prices for property in Florida.
In May this year, Jacksonville featured in the five best destinations to find a job in the US. In the Forbes ranking for the Top Cities to Find a Job in 2015, the city came in fifth place and was the only location in Florida on the list.
Unemployment in Jacksonville fell to 5.4 per cent in June, 0.1 per cent below the rate for Florida and well under the 6.4 per cent registered in the city in June 2014. The city has seen an increase of 17.4 per cent in job growth over the last decade with the IT, education and healthcare industries leading employment creation.
Technology is a particular shining star with a 72.4 per cent growth in employment since 2005. Jacksonville places particular emphasis on the growth of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) jobs and has recently created a STEM hub in the city. According to Florida Taxwatch, the hub’s primary objectives are to attract companies in the STEM sectors to Jacksonville and boost STEM education in the city.
Several big players from the world of technology have established their headquarters in Jacksonville such as CSX Corporation and Fidelity National Financial. Deutsche Bank who already employs 1,608 people in Jacksonville, has recently applied for city funding to expand its operations in the city. When expansion is complete by the end of 2017, the Bank will employ a further 475 people with an average salary of US$64,356 plus benefits.
The recent installation of the Jacksonville Network Access Point (NAP) offers high-speed and reliable internet connection via fibre optics with a total investment of US$1.5 billion. The Jacksonville NAP has attracted big interest from companies in the IT sector and will undoubtedly enhance opportunities in the city’s employment market.
The employment boom in Jacksonville is reflected in the local housing market as new residents flock to the city in search of work. The latest statistics for Florida property found the city ranked among the highest in the state for increases in both sales and prices. In the year to June, sales of townhouses and condos in Jacksonville rose by a spectacular 42.3 per cent while single family home sales increased by 26.8 per cent. State-wide increases were 19.6 and 14.6 per cent.
Price increases for property in Jacksonville also register figures well above the state average. In Florida as a whole, the year-on-year price rise to June was 7.9 per cent for condo-townhouse property and 10 per cent for single family homes. In Jacksonville, single family homes went up by an average of 11.6 per cent while condo properties increased by 19.7 per cent.
Source: Florida Taxwatch, Florida Realtors, Bizjournals