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Gulf Coast Counties’ Talent Attraction Improving


By Amy Newburn on November 29, 2018



Gulf Coast Counties’ Talent Attraction Improving

According to Emsi’s third annual Talent Attraction Scorecard, Gulf Coast regional counties have improved their overall abilities to attract and develop skilled workers over the past few years. Baldwin County in Alabama leads the large counties in talent attraction, followed by Santa Rosa and Bay counties in Florida. Okaloosa and Escambia Counties have both increased their ranking since the index’s inception in 2016 – Escambia has jumped 129 spots, while Okaloosa increased by 115 spots.


All the Florida counties have unemployment at or below 3%, so employers and communities are increasingly competing for new talent. As Emsi notes in its report, workforce issues are one of the most common issues for businesses when unemployment is so low. Talent Attraction and Development becomes more prominent in this environment.



Emsi ranks counties using their own Talent Attraction Index, comprised of factors like job growth and openings, net migration, competitive effect , skilled job growth and educational attainment. They also separate counties by their size, grouping them into large (100k+) and small (5k – 99k) populations. For the top three leading Florida counties, one of the strongest factors in their higher rankings is a well-educated population.



All of the counties in the above graphics are classified as large except for Walton County – that is why it’s not depicted in the above graph or table. Walton County’s ranking has climbed, too – it has a 2.5% unemployment rate, a well-educated population (18% Bachelor’s, 8.3% Associate’s) and 11,603 Millennials, a proportion of its population that is below the national average. It’s now ranked 25 among small counties in talent attraction.


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