TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida ranked No. 1 in the nation for attracting and developing a skilled workforce in Lightcast’s 2022 Talent Attraction Scorecard.

Now in its seventh year, the report measures seven growth areas of the most recent five-year period including net migration of counties adding new residents, education attainment, job creation, skilled job creation, competitive effect, and average annual job openings.

“By keeping Florida free and open, we have created a positive economic environment and invested in our state’s workforce and communities,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a Nov. 8 news release.

“As a result,” he added, “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.”

The ranking confirms the state’s strong policies, open economy and focus on education have solidified Florida as the nation’s best state to learn, work and live, according to the news release. 

“Each Floridian benefits when our state is providing high-paying jobs in growth fields that will boost our economy for years to come,” Florida Deputy Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella said.

“The proof is everywhere as counties big and small are growing and thriving thanks to the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis who has prioritized aligning employee training and education with local workforce needs,” she said.
Lightcast highlights show successful job creation and growth across the state:

  • Florida led the nation’s states in talent attraction with fifteen large counties in the top 50, led by Hillsborough County (#8), Polk (#10), Lee (#12), St Johns (#18), and Pasco (#20).
  • Florida also led all states in net migration, adding more than 388,000 residents between 2016-20. That is nearly double than the next state, Texas.
  • Three Florida counties were among the top ten large counties nationally in net migration: Lee, Pasco and Polk counties.
  • Nassau County led the nation in net migration among small counties with Walton County ranked fourth.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Dane Eagle said the top ranking is proof that 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,” Eagle said, adding the DEO is proud to work with Enterprise Florida and other state partners

“We will continue to make smart, strategic investments to meet the workforce demands of Florida businesses and keep the state’s economy strong,” he said.
CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard added Lightcast's ranking shows the state's wide margin in net migration over other states, demonstrating “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.”

Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. added that the ranking is proof that the state is 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,” he said.

To view Lightcast’s 2022 Talent Attraction Scorecard, click here.