Skip to main content

Narrative Overview

Business Characteristics 


Why does it matter?

Industry clusters can shed some light on the regional competition and specialization. Understanding prominent industries in the region can allow policy makers to analyze industrial maturity in Pensacola as well as boost growth in areas with less activity. Other industry characteristics, such as the number of payrolled businesses can tell us which industries are less populous for the two counties. Community leaders may reach out to the region’s largest employers as job creators for these industries. Businesses with less employees may choose to train current workers, allowing them to specialize in multiple areas to mitigate the necessity of hiring more individuals.

Top 10 Industries by Payrolled Businesses 

Pensacola Metro Area (Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties)


Where are we now?

Business size by number of employees can show us the general distribution of small and large businesses. The Florida Small Business Development Center (FL SBDC) estimates that about 99.8 percent of the state’s businesses are small businesses. The two-county region is primarily comprised of businesses with less than 20 employees. Businesses employing more than 99 employees make up less than 2 percent of the business population. While more workers may indicate greater corporate security, smaller businesses benefit by investing in specializing their labor per capita.

Above, we can view the number of payrolled businesses by industry. From 2015 to 2021, the top three industries with the greatest number of businesses were Retail Trade, Construction and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services. The number of payrolled businesses grew in most industries. Government positions are one of the region’s top providers of jobs, which is evident in the list of largest employers. Navy Federal Credit Union is the top employer, followed by the U.S. Navy and then the U.S. Air Force.

In addition to examining the number of businesses, business size and largest employers, we utilized the demographic data provided by Emsi’s Industry Clustering tool. Twelve industries were ranked as “top clusters” and eleven were ranked as “bottom clusters”. Thirty-five were ranked as “middle clusters”. The rankings were based on earnings, growth, regional competitiveness, regional specialization and GRP. This method helps compare the diversity and job distribution of a particular industry in relation to other regions. Some of the highest rated out of the top clusters were Local Financial Services, Upstream Chemical Products and Textile Manufacturing.

How is it measured?

The Business Industry Cluster is an external tool that groups industries together based on similar characteristics. The total number of payrolled businesses by industry are grouped together based on their 2-digit NAICS code. The Largest Employers is calculated using the percent of jobs supplied. Business size by number of employees groups employment distribution into eight categories ranging from one to four employees, all the way to 500+ employees.

What call to action is linked to this indicator?

A diversified, dynamic economy affords both employees and businesses more opportunity. Encouraging both the formation of new businesses and attracting existing ones into the area can grow our economy and expand job opportunities. Policymakers can encourage business entry into the area through tax incentives, advertising, and investments in public services. Similarly, policymakers can attract and develop talent through promoting our region’s quality of life and investing in education. If the economy is able to grow, the population too will increase allowing more business sectors to enter Escambia and Santa Rosa’s local economy.