Pensacola Metro

Pensacola

Pensacola, Florida

Located in Northwest Florida, the Pensacola Metropolitan Area is made up of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.  It encompasses a population base of more than 453,000 residents with more than 201,000 employed workers.  This area holds strategic advantages associated with its network of domestic and international trade.  While known for its beautiful, sunny beaches, the region is an equally attractive destination for business growth.  Forbes Magazine listed Pensacola among the 25 Best Places to Retire.

Economy

From 2009-2011 Moody listed the greater Pensacola area in the top 5% for job growth.  Pensacola has lower-than-average tax rates and a cost of living 1.3% lower than the national average.  Forbes states the cost of business at 5.8% lower than the U.S. average.   Major industries such as aerospace, defense and advanced manufacturing benefit from the stable economy and low cost of doing business.  Some of the major employers in the city are GE, Hixardt Technologies, IMS Expert Services, and Navy Federal Credit Union.  Population is projected to increase by 12% from 2012 to 2020.  The rate of unemployment in February 2014 was 6.4%.

Housing

The average house age is just over 40 years, and the median home cost is $108,000.  2013 foreclosures were up 62% from 2012.  The average cost of a foreclosed property was 48% below the median home price.  The affordability factor for real estate is 1.298, and the percentage of people renting is approximately 34%.

Education

Pensacola’s University of West Florida (UWF) was ranked No. 10 on Forbes’ Best Public Colleges and holds an AACSB Accreditation.  This is a distinction that less than 5% of management education programs can claim.   Pensacola State College opens access to affordable educational opportunities.  It was recently ranked in the nation’s Top 50 producers of associate degrees in several disciplines.  Pensacola Christian College is a large provider of private education with nearly 5000 enrolled.

History/Culture

Pensacola was officially founded in 1698.  Great Britain won the territory in 1763 and the Spanish recaptured it in 1781 and retained control until 1821.  In 1861 Florida was the third state to secede from the Union and when Pensacola was captured in May of 1862 most of the city was burned.

Being in the South, Pensacola had many struggles in the 1950s and 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement.  The late 20th century brought a migration to beach cities.  Pensacola did not grow as large as many other cities at this time, but remains a sought after tourist destination.  Many of the current museums and war memorials are some of the finest outside of Washington D.C.

Travel Advisor ranked 2 Pensacola beaches among the top 25 in the nation.  Gulf Islands National Seashore ranked No. 3 and Pensacola Beach ranked No. 22.  The rankings were based on feedback from visitors.  The National Naval Aviation Museum amazes with more than 150 historic aircraft and 360% full motion flight simulators.  Pensacola prides itself on diverse and emerging cultures.  There are many festivals and events portraying the heart and history of the area.  When the sun goes down there is never ending music, dining, dancing and cultural diversity.