Tourism and entertainment have long been Orlando’s bread and butter, but the economy of this central Florida city is also getting a big boost from the technology and healthcare sectors. As unemployment drops and wages tick upward, more professionals have found that the “Theme Park Capital of the World” is more than thrill rides and character meet-and greets.
So, move over, Mickey. Orlando has evolved into an up-and-coming hotspot for young professionals looking for new and exciting career opportunities.
Orlando’s diverse workforce is over 1.2 million. As of July 2019, the tight labor market meant that just 3.2 percent of the labor force was unemployed and the Orlando area had gained about 2,700 jobs, representing an annual growth rate of 3.6 percent.
Year-over-year growth increased by 49,000 jobs, and during periods of optimal economic conditions, the metro has produced 65,000 jobs annually with a 10-year historical average job gain of nearly 34,000 jobs.
These figures mean that Orlando, as compared to the rest of the metros in the nation, boasts one of the very best job markets for new graduates as well as seasoned professionals. The city has also been ranked in the top 10 for job growth.
The industries with the top employment rates are:
- Leisure and Hospitality (20.8 percent)
- Professional and Business Services (18.4 percent); Technology jobs within this sector grew by 7.8 percent
- Education and Health Services (12 percent)
- Retail Trade (11.2 percent)
Major employers in the area include Universal Orlando, SunTrust Bank, Walt Disney World, Chase Bank, Adventist Health, WellCare and Tech Data.
Orlando has good news for workers, as wages in the area continue to increase at an average historical rate of 4.4 percent. Across most occupations, the city’s wages outpace the national average. Of the main counties in the area, Orange County offers the highest paychecks on average across all industries, followed by Seminole and Lake Counties.
Why Young Professionals Choose Orlando
The SunBelt region has always been an attractive place to live for people of all ages, and Orlando is a hotspot for those looking for year-round summers and plenty of job potential.
Orlando represents a diverse demographic with a mix of millennials, Generation X and baby boomers. The population mix is reflected throughout the city by a wide array of housing, dining, shopping and recreational opportunities. Further, Orlando boasts a strong rental market that commands higher rates than the national average.
Overall, Orlando’s cost of living is relatively low compared to other popular cities, and home prices average about $278,000, which is on pace with national figures. From a lifestyle perspective, Orlando is known for its robust parks, entertainment and outdoor activity opportunities.
Orlando may have built a reputation for fun in the sun that’s ideal for vacationers, but for graduates and young professional residents, it’s one of the best cities for job opportunities and career growth. University career centers can confidently advise graduates to head south where wages, opportunity and entertainment continue to make it the Happiest Place on Earth.