Economist: Pasco has high GPD growth, but also high inflation | Pasco

TRINITY — In terms of GDP (gross domestic product) growth, Pasco County ranks in the top 10 fast-growing counties in Florida, but the proportion of GDP coming from government expenditures is relatively low. Pasco seems to be growing organically, based on economic opportunities, and doesn’t really look like the typical county in Florida.

That’s one conclusion Zachary Smith, assistant professor of economics and finance at St. Leo University, came to in his Regional Economic Analysis, which relied on data from 2010 through 2022. He presented his findings at the Pasco Economic Development Council’s Economic Forecast Luncheon in Trinity on Jan. 19. Richard Moody, senior vice president and chief economist at Regions Bank, spoke about the national economy at the event.

Addressing a crowd representing small and large businesses in Pasco, Smith said the county has greater production than other Florida counties in the retail (+4.05%), finance (+5.16%) and education/health sectors, (+4.66%) but less in professional and business services (-5.66%).

Although Pasco’s workforce collectively has less education and makes lower wages than their counterparts in other counties, an increase in the working-age population, which has occurred along with growth in retirement-age residents, has helped fuel growth.

Historically, the county has held a position between the 77th and 86th percentile of population growth in Florida, Smith said. From 1990 to 2021, Pasco experienced 107.76% growth in population, the 15th fastest in Florida; 2010 to 2021 saw 25.69% growth, the 11th fastest.

From 2010 to 2021, Pasco County grew its GDP in real terms by 45%, while the average for Florida counties was 33%, putting Pasco in the top 10 counties in terms of GDP growth in the state.

New hospitals account for some economic growth, Smith noted.

But while GPD growth may be higher than in most counties, income is a different matter. The per capita income in Pasco County, as reported by the US Census Bureau in 2022, was $50,479 versus an average of $62,270 across Florida. And while housing costs were roughly $50,000 lower in Pasco than surrounding areas, it suffers from the higher inflation rate (nearly 10% or greater for food as opposed to around 7% elsewhere; rent and home ownership 16% or higher for rental and purchased housing ; and 13% for electricity) pervasive throughout the greater Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater area.

For more information about economic issues in Pasco County, contact the Economic Development Council at


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