As mentioned in our earlier series, manufacturing plays a key role in the St. Petersburg Area’s economy due to its high concentration and its higher wages. For perspective’s sake let’s first compare this industry to our top employer, healthcare and social assistance. Note, unlike Part 1, this section will compare numbers arriving strictly from the City of St. Petersburg’s geographical boundaries, meaning some numbers from the previous series may differ slightly.
In the City of St. Petersburg, about 7.6% of the current job market falls into the manufacturing category, while about 16.1% in the healthcare and social assistance. Although manufacturing may seem small relative to healthcare, two things remain comparatively important. First, its 2018 average annual wage is $57,644, compared to healthcare’s which is $49,766, about 16% higher. Secondly, not counting vocational degrees/certifications, manufacturing employees have lower levels of traditional education than those in healthcare and social assistance, which may suggest some lower barriers to entry.
Now let’s analyze the Census employment estimates by race/ethnicity. Manufacturing employs larger percentages of Asian (8%), Latinx (13%), and White, non-Hispanics (68.9%) than the healthcare and social assistance sector. In turn, the healthcare and social assistance sector contains twice as many Black employees—17.8% versus 8.2%.
What factors are contributing to such wide differences in employment among St. Petersburg’s industries? As Grow Smarter continues to evolve, questions like these are at the forefront of workgroup discussion and collaboration, in order to bring more equity into the world of economic development.