Tallahassee Chamber gives city a mixed score — job increases, violent crime rise

From Florida Politics

Earlier this week, the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce released its January 2022 Community Scorecard, with a spotlight on the flip sides of Florida’s capital city — rising job availability and increased violent crime.

The scorecard, which uses various employment, crime and economic data points, had yearly figures updated in its first edition of 2022. The data highlights improvements in nonagricultural jobs in the Tallahassee metropolitan area, while highlighting rising violent crime rates and falling 3rd grade reading scores.

The total non-farm jobs around Tallahassee was 184,000 in December 2021, an increase of a couple thousand from 178,500 in December 2020. Unemployment overall also dropped 0.1% from November to December.

In a statement announcing the scorecard, the chamber also highlighted some of the areas seeing job growth in the past year. Leisure and hospitality saw a  16% increase in jobs; the mining, logging, and construction trade saw a jump of 7.3%.

Trade, transportation, and utilities jumped 6.3%, and manufacturing increased 5.7%. Those growth rates are higher than statewide averages in those industries over the past year.

The scorecard also highlighted some local issues. The rate of passing 3rd grade reading scores dropped from 61% to 54% in the area from 2019 to 2021. Additionally, there were 1,805 instances of violent crime in the area, an increase from the 1,699 in 2019.

The area’s GDP dropped from $15.9 billion to $15.5 billion from 2019 to 2020.

During the Chamber’s 2022 Economic Forecast event, Chamber President and CEO Sue Dick discussed the scorecard, saying further community planning is needed to get improvement across the board on the metrics the scorecard tracks, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

“It’s good to see the green in the job growth. We’re going in the right direction,” Dick said. “But until the entire scorecard is green, we’re not really making the progress we need to be as a community.”