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Report: Eliminating equity gaps could boost local economy by $50 billion

Margie Manning

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A new report from two planning organizations details the gains in jobs and economic impact that would occur in the Tampa Bay area, if all races and ethnicities were on a level playing field.

Eliminating equity gaps for the area’s Black and Hispanic residents could add up to 375,000 new jobs and $50 billion to the regional economy, according to the report released Monday by the Tampa Bay Partnership, with an analysis by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

“The data shows us that a more equitable economy would not only make our residents more prosperous, but also enhance our competitiveness as a region,” said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership, a coalition of regional business leaders. “We hope this new report, particularly when paired with our previous research, will help our leaders develop thoughtful and deliberate strategies to close the gaps and eliminate the disparities in Tampa Bay.”

The report does not identify any of those potential strategies to reduce equity gaps.

Equity dividend

The new report, Closing the Racial Pay Gap: An Equity Dividend for the Tampa Bay Area Economy, builds on earlier research by the Tampa Bay Partnership

The 2020 Regional Equity Report, released in September, revealed dramatic inequities that exist for Black residents both within Tampa Bay and in comparison to 19 other cities across the U.S.  

In response, the Partnership asked the regional planning council to model a scenario in which Black and Hispanic residents had earnings, education and home ownership rates equal to those of white residents.

The new report breaks down what it calls an “equity dividend” by each of the eight counties in the Tampa Bay region.

In Pinellas County, it projects a 10.1 percent increase in jobs, with 9.7 percent more people in the labor force. The gross regional product, or market value of goods produced, would rise 14.55 percent, while personal income would go up 16.28 percent.

The equity dividend would be even larger in Hillsborough County, which has the most racial and ethnic diversity in the region, the report said. In Hillsborough, there would be a projected 21 percent jump in jobs, 10.8 percent increase in people in the labor force, 29.1 percent rise in the gross regional product and 35.2 percent gain in personal income.

The model also predicts prices of certain goods and services would rise to support an increase in wages. However, the overall impact on the regional economy would be positive, the report said.

Read the full report here.

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