Market Commentaries are a series of timely analyses produced by the Orlando Economic Partnership’s Market Intelligence team. Commentaries are typically associated with a major data release or cover areas key to advancing the Partnership’s goal of Broad-based Prosperity®.

New GDP estimates released last week suggest the Orlando region’s economy grew 5.9 percent in 2022.
Orlando was the second fastest-growing large economy in the U.S, with all local counties also seeing growth far above the national average.
GDP growth remains a helpful but imperfect measure of economic health.

New estimates released by the federal government last week indicate over $22 billion was added to Orlando’s GDP in 2022, as the region closes in on becoming a $200 billion economy. Orlando was the 26th largest regional economy in the U.S. in 2022, with a current-dollar GDP of more than $194 billion.

Florida’s Fastest-Growing Economy

In growth terms, Orlando’s real GDP (adjusted for inflation) expanded by 5.9 percent in 2022 – almost three times greater than the collective 2.1 percent growth experienced by all U.S. metropolitan areas. It was Orlando’s second year of robust growth following a pandemic-related decline in 2020, leaving the economy 13 percent larger than in 2019.

Orlando was Florida’s fastest-growing large economy in 2022, outperformed only by the much smaller The Villages MSA immediately northwest. Florida’s other major regions - Miami (4.9 percent), Tampa (4.9 percent), and Jacksonville (5.5 percent) - all likewise exceeded the collective rate but by lesser margins than Orlando. Orlando was the 13th fastest-growing of the nation’s 384 metropolitan areas, and the second fastest-growing of the 30 most populous regions in the country after Austin (Nashville also grew marginally faster than Orlando but falls just outside the top 30 most populous regions at #35). The list of fastest-growing large economies in 2022 broadly mirrors the nation’s top regional job creators in the same year.

At the county level, all four local counties experienced growth in 2022 far above the national rate of 1.9 percent, each placing in the top quartile of the more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. Osceola County led the way locally, growing 7.0 percent; Orange County was the seventh fastest-growing county among the 100 most populous counties in the country, at 6.5 percent.

Growth on Many Fronts

Orlando’s expansion in 2022 was led by the same industry groups that have driven the region’s strong employment growth in recent years: professional and business services, leisure & hospitality, healthcare, and real estate (captured under financial activities).  Professional and business services, which includes parts of the tech sector as well as back-office operations, was the single largest contributor to growth on the heels of sustained regional corporate expansion and relocation, while ongoing population growth ensured important pockets of strength continued in the region’s real estate and healthcare industries. Post-pandemic rebounds in travel and consumer spending drove leisure & hospitality’s contribution.  

Moving Beyond GDP

Since our inception in 2017, with a stated mission of Broad-based Prosperity, the Orlando Economic Partnership has recognized that true economic health lies not in growing the total value of all goods and services produced in the region (the technical definition of GDP) but in the ability of all residents to share in that growth. Our latest Prosperity Scorecard confirmed that Orlando’s growth continues to prove inequitable, and so much work lies ahead.

Yet we should also recognize that inclusive growth first begins with growth. Not all communities across the country enjoy the same starting point of a fast-growing economy, so we should celebrate growth in the region’s GDP for the opportunity it affords us to take targeted actions to generate shared prosperity – even if the measure itself is imperfect.