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North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton leads nation in new business employment

The region is not only the top mid-size metro area in the country for job creation by new businesses. By percentage of total employment, it tops all metros.

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The rate of job creation by new companies in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton region ranks first among all mid-size metro areas in the country, according to a new study by the job-matching website Not only that, by percentage of total employment, but it also leads the nation regardless of market size.

The study found newly opened businesses here employ 12.1% of the workforce, a total of 44,403 employees. That figure outpaces the No. 2 in its peer group, New Haven-Milford, Connecticut, at 7.2%. The local market saw 2,452 new businesses open in the past 12 months, 11.6% of the total businesses here. It's also the only double-digit new business percentage of total employment in the country.

Researchers studied the more than 350 metros including large, mid-size and small, and calculated the share of total employment attributable to businesses that opened in the past 12 months. The metros were then ranked accordingly.

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton’s pace of job creation by new businesses is a reversal of a long-standing national trend. Since the late 1970s, the share of employment by startup firms in the economy has dropped from nearly 14% to just more than 3.9% today.

That has an impact on overall income. A recent study by the U.S. Department of the Treasury reported that established firms hire fewer employees and pay wages roughly 20% lower than they would in a more competitive market. The concentration of power among fewer large firms also suppresses worker mobility, which further impedes new business creation and growth.

These dynamics have made it more difficult for startup businesses as an engine of job creation. As larger firms’ market power has grown, the share of jobs created by new businesses has fallen significantly.

Other mid-size Florida metro areas ranked among the top 15 are Cape Coral-Fort Myers, No. 5 at 5.7%; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, No. 11 at 4.9%; and Lakeland-Winter Haven, No. 14 at 4.6%.

Among large markets, Jacksonville ranked first in the country at 6.7% of the total employed by new businesses. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford is ranked seventh at 4.8% and Miami-Fort Lauderdale Pompano Beach 11th at 4.6%. Among small Florida metros, The Villages ranked fourth in the nation at 6.6% and Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin 12th at 5.1%.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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