The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area has a diverse and robust economy with substantial opportunities for business and professional growth. The Tampa Bay area is home to nearly ten Fortune 1000 company headquarters. The largest company headquartered in the Tampa Bay area is Publix Super Markets. The most famous companies headquartered in the area are Tech Data, Outback Steakhouse, and Raymond James Financial.
The Tampa Bay area has a well educated work force. According to the United States Census Bureau, almost 27% of the population has a college degree or higher. In 2005, Central Connecticut State University ranked Tampa in the top 30 most literate cities in the United States.
Major business honors and awards received by cities in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area include:
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: Number 9 on Inc. Magazine's list of the "Best Cities for Doing Business" in the United States in the "large cities" category
- Tampa: Number 25 for job growth on Forbes magazine's 2005 list of "Best Places For Business and Careers" (out of the 150 largest metropolitan areas)
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: Number 13 on Expansion Management’s 2005 list of America's 50 hottest cities
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: "5-Star Business Opportunity Metro" ranking from Expansion Management’s 2005 Mayor’s Challenge ranking of the "Top Business Opportunity Metros"
- Tampa: Number 2 in the United States for "Least Expensive Places to Do Business" in KPMG's Competitive Alternatives International Report (2006)
- Tampa: On Business 2.0's "10 Hot Cities" for job growth
- Tampa-St.Petersburg: Number 19 among top metropolitan areas with the most jobs in high-technology industries according to a 2004 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: Regional Review
Major industries in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area include:
- Avionics, Defense and Marine Electronics
- Business and Information Services
- Financial Services
- Manufacturing (Microelectronics, Medical Devices)
- Marine Sciences
The Tampa Bay area is home to three seaports which have a profound impact on the area's economy. Combined, the seaports support more than 130,000 jobs and contribute more than $15 billion dollars a year to the Tampa Bay area economy. The Port of Tampa is the twelfth largest cargo port in the United States, as well as a major cruise port.
For business travelers, the Tampa Bay area is well served by two major airports, including:
- Tampa International Airport (TPA) which Conde Nast Traveler ranked as the best airport in the United States and the third best airport in the world
- St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE)
Notable companies with headquarters or major operations in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area include:
- Bright House Networks
- Brown & Brown Inc.
- Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc.
- Ferman Automotive Group Inc.
- Global Imaging Systems Inc.
- Home Shopping Network
- Maritrans Inc.
- Outback Steakhouse
- Raymond James & Assoc.
- Rooms to Go Inc.
- SRI/Surgical Express Inc.
- Sykes Enterprises Inc.
- Syniverse Technologies Inc.
- TECO Energy Inc.
- Outback Steakhouse Inc.
- Walter Industries Inc.
- WellCare Health Plans
Major business organizations and associations in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area include:
- The Tampa Bay Partnership
- The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
- The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce
The Tampa Bay Business Journal, the "Money Section" of the St. Petersburg Times, and "Money Section" of the Tampa Tribune are all good sources of information on business and the economy in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area.