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High Demand Occupations in Florida's Eight Westernmost Counties

This report prepared by the UWF Haas Center provides insights on projected growth in the labor force between 2022 and 2027. The regional performance of twenty-two occupational areas were examined and compared with the state and the nation.

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Occupation Ranks

This report ranks each occupation by median earnings and growth rates spanning five years. In order to identify which occupational areas support the greatest economic opportunity, we first sorted by median earnings and then by the projected occupational growth between 2022 and 2027. Unsurprisingly, the top 10 occupational areas share several common attributes.


First, each occupational area pays a wage greater than the median annual earnings of the defined geography. Second, each occupational area requires at least some education beyond high school. Lastly, while the exact rankings, earnings, and growth rate may vary between geographies, the set of top 10 occupational areas are consistent at the regional, state, and national levels.

Automation Index

The automation index was another measurement focused on in the report. As labor in any occupation becomes more difficult to source due to wage increases and/or hazardous conditions, automation becomes more likely. The automation index measures the threat for mechanization. 


One noteworthy finding was the accelerated innovation found in hospitality and food service. Working conditions involving direct contact with customers combined with a low pay rate made this occupation poised for innovation following the COVID-19 Pandemic. Restaurant owners now place menus online. Patrons may scan a QR code and review the restaurant’s offerings. Some companies are taking this a step further; face to face customers may place their order online, pay online, and the request goes directly to the kitchen.

Top Occupational Growth by County

The map below is an overview of Florida's eight westernmost counties. We have identified high wage occupations with the fastest growth rate, and this represents the projected growth rate of the top occupation in each county. 

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