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How Polk County’s economy is changing

Learn where the local economy has increased and decreased over the past decade, plus where you can expect to see growth in Lakeland.

Boxes stacked on industrial shelves inside a fluorescent lit warehouse.

Expect to see continued growth in Lakeland’s distribution sector.

Photo by @thedanallenn

Polk County is still one of the fastest-growing counties in the entire country, but how is that growth reflected in our local economy? Take a look at the stats from Tampa Bay Business Journal’s annual “Doing Business in Polk County” report.

According to the report, Polk County’s overall GDP grew 35% from 2012 to 2021 (when adjusted for inflation). The biggest drivers were the finance, insurance, and real estate industries, while agriculture saw the largest decrease at nearly 52%. Keep an eye on durable goods manufacturing and wholesale trade, which have grown over 177% and 145%, respectively.

Lakeland recently ranked as the country’s third biggest boomtown — but there could be signs that growth is slowing down. Katie Worthington Decker of the Lakeland Economic Development Council shared in the report that rising interest rates could slow down development projects. However, she said she expects to see growth in aerospace, food manufacturing, and distribution.

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