Retirees fuel jobs in industries that service the local economy like construction, retail and healthcare. “These retirees are like permanent tourists,” says Donaldson. “You get all of the benefits of migration without many of the costs like competition for wages or strains on the justice and education systems.”
Net migration into Naples is the third highest rate in the U.S. over the past five years. Even with the population gains, unemployment has plummeted from a peak of 12.2% in 2010 to a recent 5%. Another Naples perk: the third lowest crime rate in the U.S.
Other Florida metros with a heavy retirement presence that rank among the areas with the best job forecasts include: Cape Coral (4.4%), Ocala (3.9%), Port St. Lucie (3.7%) and North Port (3.6%).
The other Florida metro in the top 10 is not dependent on retirees at all. Orlando is the youngest non-college town in Florida by median age. It is thriving thanks to tourism infrastructure being built up through mainly Universal and Disney. More than 60 million people visited the Orlando area last year, the most for any city in American history. Employment growth is projected to average 4.2% a year through 2017, according to Moody’s, which ranks No. 4 among the 200 largest metro areas. Moody’s Donaldson cautions that the strong job growth forecast for Orlando may not materialize thanks to the strong U.S. dollar which makes travelling from Asia and Europe more expensive.