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Florida Ranks No. 1 In New Analysis Evaluating The States’ Abilities To Attract Highly Skilled Talent

Away from election news on Tuesday, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was touting a new report that showed Florida is a talent magnet

Away from election news on Tuesday, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was touting a new report that showed Florida is a talent magnet

The Sunshine State ranked No. 1 nationally in recruiting new, highly skilled workers, according to a study by the job-market analytics firm Lightcast.

Lightcast ranked states by using county-level data. The firm based the rankings on education, overall job change, migration, skilled job change, competitive effect (defined as jobs created above or below what is expected), and skilled job openings. This was the seventh year Lightcast has issued its “Talent Attraction Scorecard.”

Florida’s outcome was linked to the 388,000 people who migrated to the Sunshine State from 2016 through 2020, which was almost 180,000 more people than runner-up Texas.

In a press release, DeSantis’ office said Lightcast’s findings shows the state’s “focus on training workers with the technical skills and credentials is paying off as the Sunshine State has been named number one in the U.S. for attracting and developing a skilled workforce.”

The state’s topping the chart also indicates “that our state’s strong policies, open economy, and focus on education have solidified Florida as the nation’s best state to learn, work and live.”

“By keeping Florida free and open, we have created a positive economic environment and invested in our state’s workforce and communities,” DeSantis said in a statement. “As a result, Florida is leading the nation in net migration and talent attraction. As other states continue to struggle at the hands of poor leadership, people and businesses are flocking to Florida.”

Some of the highlights for Florida in Lightcast’s scorecard included:

  • Leading the nation in talent attraction with fifteen large counties in the top 50. Those included Hillsborough County (#8), Polk (#10), Lee (#12), St Johns (#18), and Pasco (#20).
  • Outpacing all states in net migration, adding more than 388,000 newcomers between 2016-20.
  • Placing three counties in the top 10 ten large counties in net migration: Lee, Pasco and Polk.
  • Having two of the top four small counties in new migration, Nassau County (#1) and Walton (#4).

“Florida’s #1 ranking in talent attraction and net migration is proof that Governor DeSantis’ Freedom First policies work. Businesses and families move to Florida because they know our state is the best place to grow. The state’s unemployment rate remains low, while private sector employment and job growth continue to soar,” Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle said in a statement.

“DEO is proud to work with Enterprise Florida and other state partners to help bring Governor DeSantis’ vision of a strong, resilient Florida workforce to fruition. We will continue to make smart, strategic investments to meet the workforce demands of Florida businesses and keep the state’s economy strong.”

Lightcast’s Talent Attraction Scorecard “further proves that Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership has well-positioned our state for continued economic growth,” CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard noted in a statement. “Florida’s wide margin in net migration over other states demonstrates what Florida residents know to be true – Florida is the top destination for quality of life as well as a great state to build or grow a business.”

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida has laid the groundwork for lasting success,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. added in a statement. “Our number one ranking for talent attraction is more proof that we are on the right track when it comes to education and economics. We stand ready to build on our successes and continue moving forward for the benefit of all Floridians.”

“Each Floridian benefits when our state is providing high-paying jobs in growth fields that will boost our economy for years to come,” Deputy Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella noted in prepared remarks. “The proof is everywhere as counties big and small are growing and thriving thanks to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis who has prioritized aligning employee training and education with local workforce needs.”

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