When it Comes to Local Employment and Business Opportunities, Marion County's Economic Engine has a Lot of Horsepower

Ocala's booming businesses and industries are creating over 4,500 new jobs each year, adding to one of the most stable and highly educated work forces in the United States.

With 65% of Florida's population within a 150 miles of Ocala, and with direct rail and superhighway access, the region has become one of the leading warehousing, distribution and corporate headquarters centers in the Southeastern United States.

An outstanding example of this corporate migration is the over two and a half million square foot Big Kmart warehousing and distribution center, a building so huge it is the largest structure under one roof in the Southeast. It even houses its own internal fire station. This massive complex employs 1,400 people and serves the entire Southeastern U.S., the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The Marion County and Alachua County SMSA (sales and marketing statistical area) has a broad economic base and solid value-added economy with more jobs per capita in the light industrial, high-tech, education and health care sectors than any other region in Florida.

Among the many national and international brand name companies in Marion County's 15 major industrial parks are such giants as:

Mark III, the world's leading conversion van and automotive after market assembly operation employing over 1,600 people, Emergency One, the world's largest producer of fire trucks and fire fighting apparatus, and high-tech Lockheed Martin, the home of the Patriot Missile, one of the heroes of Operation Desert Storm.

Abundant, high quality water resources, rich soil, high ground and ideal climate have made the Ocala region one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the state. There are thousands of jobs of all kinds associated with Marion County's booming agribusiness, which includes cattle ranching, farming and Ocala's World-renown thoroughbred horse farms.



Horse Capitol of the World

Beyond the white fences and green pastures of Marion County you'll find championship breeding and training facilities that are on a par with Lexington Kentucky, Newmarket England and Chantilly France. Florida's thoroughbred industry employs 72,000 people and contributes over six billion dollars annually to the state's economy. Our area, which is the heart of the industry, is famous for producing Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes winners.

Right here at the Marion Oaks I-75 exit (Exit 67), the State of Florida has acquired over 500 acres for a " Florida Agricultural Center and Horse Park," an equine oriented, multi purpose facility which will include exposition and entertainment facilities, a permanent agricultural museum, an equine training facility, and a complete, international equestrian sports center that is being designed as a venue for the 2012 Olympic Games. To accommodate the expected growth of Marion Oaks and this global attraction a new 16 acre "Tourist Center" is slated for the land at the northeast corner of the intersection at Exit 67.

Ocala / Marion County Living Costs

How will your living costs change if you move to Ocala, Florida from any of the following major U.S. cities?  The differences are calculated using cost-of-living indexes from ACCRA, a research group. These indexes cover housing, food, clothing, transportation, health care, utilities, and miscellaneous goods and services, and are based on a national average of 100.  The chart estimates how much your living costs will go up or down. As an example, if you move from New York City, NY to Ocala, FL it would decrease you cost of living by 56%. Living costs change; use these comparisons only as a guide.

From To Ocala
From To Ocala
Albany, NY -16%
Lansing, MI -7%
Anchorage, AK -29%
Los Angeles, CA -28%
Baltimore, MD -23%
Milwaukee, WI -10%
Billings, MT -10%
Montpelier, VT -15%
Boston, MA -31%
Nassau/Long Island, NY -36%
Chicago, IL -24%
New York City, NY -56%
Cincinnati, OH -10%
Omaha, NE 3%
Cleveland, OH -15%
Orlando, FL -5%
Columbus, OH -13%
Philadelphia, PA -29%
Dallas, TX -10%
Pittsburgh, PA -12%
Des Moines, IA -8%
Richmond, VA -10%
Dover, DE -10%
Rochester, NY -17%
Ft. Lauderdale, FL -7%
St. Louis, MO -3%
Green Bay, WI -3%
St. Paul, MN -12%
Hartford, CT -24%
San Diego, CA -29%
Houston, TX -5%
Santa Barbara, CA -41%
Indianapolis, IN -1%
Tampa, St. Pete, FL -3%
Kansas City, MO -2%
Washington, DC -30%



Marion County's population growth rate ranks 14th among Florida's counties and in the top 8% nationwide. Population within 50 miles is 836,000; within 100 miles is 6,100,000 and within 150 miles is 8,900,000.

The Population Breakdown by Age:

    0-14 17.9%
15-24 10.3%
25-44 21.8%
45-64 24.3%
65+ 25.7%

Migration Indicators - Place of Origin:

    Different County in Florida 36.1%
Northeastern USA 24.5%
Southern USA 17.0%
North Central USA 16.0%
Western USA 3.9%
Abroad 2.5%

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