Innovation Lives Elsewhere, Says New Report | Business Observer

Type the phrase “innovation lives here” into a search engine and you’ll find a diverse assortment of companies and organizations, including the St. Petersburg Region Economic Development Corporation, using it as slogan. But does innovation have a grand and opulent home in the Tampa Bay area?

New data from consumer and business research firm Smartest Dollar says the Tampa Bay area may not be as innovative as we like to think. Looking at criteria such as annual salaries and the percentage of workers in innovative jobs, the company found that the Tampa-St. The Pete-Clearwater Metro ranked below the national average in terms of its workforce innovation.

The region has 34,590 workers in the most innovative jobs, just 2.7% of the total workforce. In contrast, the national average is 4,428,790, or 3.1% of the US workforce.

Likewise, the average annual salary for innovative jobs in Tampa Bay is $71,139. That’s well below the national average of $86,562.

The Smartest Dollar team says innovative jobs are typically found in arts, education, and entertainment, as well as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Using criteria established by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it defines innovative jobs as those that require creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas and answers to work-related problems.

One of the main findings of the study concerns the geographical diversity of innovative jobs – they are not clustered in one region, such as the North East, as one might expect. For example, #1 on the list is Austin-Round Rock, Texas, followed by Boston-Cambridge-Nashua in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and third is Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan. Rochester, New York and Cleveland-Elyria round out the top five. Not a single major Florida metro area appears in the top 15; in fact, Austin-Round Rock is the only major southern metropolitan area represented.

Florida ranks higher in the Smartest Dollar ranking of mid-size metropolitan areas with the most innovative workforce, with Tallahassee at No. 2 and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at No. 14.

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