Why Economic Development Matters

Friday, June 06, 2014

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Article by Clay Today

There are many things that push a community from average to great, and one of those is economic prosperity for its citizens.

As a "bedroom" community to Jacksonville, Clay County has long suffered from too many relatively low paying servicesector jobs. More than half of the nearly 100,000 people in the Clay County labor force must leave Clay for a better paying job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the third quarter of 2013 the average wage of the 43,000 jobs in Clay County was $646 per week, or $34,000 per year – 5th lowest of the seven counties in the northeast Florida region.

Only Baker and Flagler counties have lower average wages than Clay. Duval ranks first in the region with an average wage of $45,000. The state average for Florida is $42,000. The U.S. average wage is $48,000. The good news is that Clay has room to improve.

Changing the dynamics of below average wages and a high exodus of workers from Clay County takes deliberate planning and action. The Clay County Economic Development Council works with several local, regional, and state partners to promote the creation of more high-quality jobs in Clay.

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