Thanks to a flood of transplants during the pandemic, six southern states have been growing at breakneck speed – as approximately $100 billion in new income in 2020 and 2021 have begun to reshape the southern US.
To wit, Florida, Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee are now contributing more to the national GDP than the Northeast – which bled out about $60 billion during the same period, according to Bloomberg, citing government figures going back to thew 1990s.
“The switch happened during the pandemic and shows no signs of reverting,” write Bloomberg‘s Michael Sasso and Alexandre Tanzi.
Since early 2020, the Southeast has accounted for more than 2/3 of all job growth in the US, nearly doubling its pre-pandemic share, and making it home to 10 of the 15 fastest-growing large cities in America.
For example, Dun & Broadstreet, founded 182 years ago and up until recently headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey, moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 2021 – in order to take advantage of a $100 million package of cash and tax incentives. D&B CFO Bryan Hipsher told Bloomberg that the company would have gladly stayed in the New York area, but the Florida offer was too good to refuse.
“You feel very wanted, right?” Hipsher told the outlet. “You feel very welcomed, clearly.”
The average employee here has an annual salary of $77,000, 25% above the national level, and well outstripping most local salaries. Still, many roles pay roughly 15% below the average at the former New Jersey headquarters.
Jacksonville grew so fast that it surpassed San Jose in population last year. Good schools, including University of Florida an hour and a half away, help provide a high-quality employee base, Hipsher said. Today the firm is still busy hiring — it’s a little less than halfway to its goal of 500 workers. -Bloomberg
Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville branch is growing along with the city – with a new oncology building under construction, and the addition of 2,400 employees to bring the total in the area to 9,000 – part of the 2.2 million people who have migrated to Florida and across the Southeast over the past two years.
“You could throw a dart anywhere at a map of the South and hit somewhere booming,” said Mark Vitner, a retired longtime economist for Wells Fargo who now heads his own economic consultancy, Piedmont Crescent Capital, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says the company now has more employees in Texas than New York state, telling Bloomberg TV “it shouldn’t have been that way.”
As far as the South Atlantic coast is concerned – including Charleston, SC, signs of explosive growth continue.
According to 47-year-old Beth Woods, who moved from Mount Olive NJ to the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant during the pandemic, life is much better now.
“You could get your hair done, your nails done, you could basically live your life. And it has lower property taxes here, too,” she said.
59-year-old Rosemary Taibi concurred. She had her husband dropped their property taxes by $14,000 per year moving from Randolph, New Jersey.
“It’s a big difference,” she said.
The move has big political impacts as well.
For now, more people translate into more congressional seats and more political power on the national scene. Over the past five decades, 12 states in the Southeast including Texas collectively added 33 more congressional seats, roughly the same number that the Northeast and Midwest each lost over the same period.
And Southerners now chair 11 of the 21 most important committees in the US House, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Government.
At the 2022 midterm elections, Republican governors handily defeated nationally known Democratic opponents in Florida, Georgia and Texas, a blow to Democrats hoping that a more diverse mix of people moving south would turn the region purple, if not blue. That may still happen over the long term because shifting politics in states as big as Florida and Texas can take 10 or 20 years, said James Gimpel, government professor at the University of Maryland. -Bloomberg
According to Gimpel, it’s no surprise that so many top GOP candidates are based in the South – including Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott.