The Lakeland region's economy is primarily based on phosphate mining, tourism and the citrus industry. There are numerous industries in the region which rely on and support the phosphate mining industry. Mosaic is one of the world's largest fertilizer manufacturers and is a prominent employer in the area. The counties thriving citrus industry employs about 8,000 workers. The beef and dairy cattle industries are also significant factors for the region's economy.
About 26% of the jobs in Lakeland are in management, professional and related occupations. Lakeland includes jobs in food processing, trucking and manufacturing industries such as automotive parts, tile and packaging. In addition, the local economy is bolstered by the city being a popular winter resort and recreational area.
The region's major employment sectors are:
- Phosphate mining
Some of the occupations more common in Lakeland when compared to most cities are agricultural inspectors; food scientists and technologists; graders and sorters of agricultural products; farm workers and laborers, crop, nursery and greenhouse; first-line supervisors/managers of farming, fishing and forestry workers; outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics; and farm equipment mechanics.
The major employers in the Lakeland region are:
- Lakeland Regional Medical Center - Hospital
- Polk County Public Schools
- Florida Zephyrhills
- Publix Supermarkets - Supermarkets (stores & warehouse)
- GEICO - Insurance
- Watson Clinic - Medical clinic
- GC Services - Teleservices
- Rooms to Go - Furniture Distributor
- FedEx National LTL - Trucking
- Saddle Creek Corporation - Trucking & Logistics
- Summit Consulting - Insurance
- ICT Group - Teleservices
- Walmart - Retail
- Mosaic - Phosphates
- Winterhaven Hospital - Hospital
- Florida Natural Growers - Citrus Processing
Noteworthy information about Lakeland: In 2009 the average salary in Lakeland was $29,000. In 2008 the cost of living index was at 84.5 which is less than the nation's average of 100. The estimated household income in 2007 was $42,000. About 21% of the residents over the age of 25 hold a bachelor's degree or better.
Lakeland Florida companies may obtain assistance from business organizations such as:
- Polk County Chamber of Commerce
- Central Florida Development Council
- Florida Economic Development Council
The Ledger offers up-to-date information regarding the business activities in Lakeland.