As Orlando's Economic Development Commission closes out fiscal year 2015 with its lowest level of new job creation in at least the last five years, due in part to delays in some companies' arrivals and others' expansions, EDC Chief Executive Rick Weddle vows the coming year will be significantly better.
A key EDC measure of success is job creation, and for the 2015 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the organization said it played an important role in the creation of 2,591 positions, from companies that moved here and others that expanded. The jobs are to be created over a three year period.
For this fiscal year the EDC projects 3,600 jobs, a large enough figure to suggest a major employer is coming, although the EDC does not comment on companies before they are here.
In fiscal year 2014, the EDC was involved in the creation of 3,393 jobs, which included Deloitte Consulting, which brought in 1,000 jobs. The 2,591 jobs from 2015 represent a 24 percent decline year over year.
The number of jobs created from EDC activity in fiscal 2013 was 3,418. Some 4,295 jobs were added in fiscal 2012, when business was picking up after the recession. And in 2011, the EDC reported 2,960 jobs were created from companies moving here or expanding. The 2015 numbers are a 12 percent decline from 2011.
Weddle noted that some moves and expansions were delayed, so while they didn't show up in the 2015 tally they will appear up in the 2016 report. He also indicated some large companies the EDC is working with have the potential of supplying 1,000 jobs or more. Weddle said project activity, or the number of projects the EDC is working on in the new fiscal year, is up by 50 percent year-over-year.
Weddle also said more companies were brought in or expanded in the most recent fiscal year, 34 to 28 the prior year.
And while the EDC has not reported such a small amount of job growth for at least five years, Weddle noted the jobs that did come carry higher average annual wages than the $42,000 that is paid in Orlando.
Companies that came here are paying employees $60,251 on average and those that expanded have $52,028 as an average annual salary, he said.
Weddle is also upbeat about the tools the EDC is using, in combination with its relationships.
"We're seeing our brand program and increased marketing starting to pay off," he said. "And our relationships with our partners (governmental agencies) continue to grow and make us more effective."
Plus, "there is a lot of pent up demand by companies that were holding off expansion," Weddle said.
And Central Florida also has geography going for it given the coastal areas are pretty built out, while this area still has a lot of open property, Weddle said.