A Brief History
Hillsborough County traces its history to the early 16th century explorations of the Spanish that first mapped it. The county is named from Wills Hill, who was the British Secretary of State to the Colonies from 1768-1772. Hillsborough is located in the West Central portion of the State of Florida, United States. In the years 1559 to 1819, Hillsborough County was under different rues of four nations, including Spain, France, Great Britain, and the United States (Hillsborough County). History shows that Florida was purchased from Spain in 1821 by the United States for $5 million. The U.S. Legislative Council for the Territory of Florida approved an act that allows the organization of Hillsborough as the 19th county in the State of Florida on January 25, 1834. 1845 marked the year Florida was granted full statehood status (Hillsborough County).
The biggest city in Hillsborough County entails Tampa. The area is located in a 1,266 square (sq.) mile (3,280 km2) region with five Congressional Districts, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th (Hillsborough County).
Originally, Hillsborough County was a vast region that included other counties such as Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota. Also, most of the parts of Glades County, and Lee County all fell under the jurisdiction of Hillsborough County. In the early years of 1845, Hillsborough population constituted 836 residents, except for soldiers and Native Americans. According to U.S. Census Bureau 2010, the county’s population comprised of 1,229,226 and an estimated population of 1,471,968 in 2019. The county has a population density of 1,381/sq—mile (533/km2). The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau population distribution comprises of 53.7% Whites, 16.7% Black Americans, 24.9% Hispanic or Latino, 3.4% Asian, 3.1% two or more races, 0.4% Native Indians and Alaska Natives, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other pacific islanders, and 5.0% other races. Thus, it portrays the county is a popularly diverse region with people of different ethnicity/racial backgrounds.
Total Employment from 2001 to 2018
The employment rate in Hillsborough County, Florida (F.L.) has maintained steady growth over the years. Figure 1 below comprises a graphic summary of the employment in Hillsborough County, FL, from January 2001 to December 2018. As of January 2001, there were 512,805 employed persons in the County of Hillsborough. The lowest employment rate in persons was April 2002 that accounted for 502,896 employed persons. A continuous rise follows this in employed persons in the county up to July 2007 that accounts for 575,644 employed people. To December 2009, the county experienced a massive drop in the number of employed persons to 519,918 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This was attributed to the poor performance of different industries and the overall economy as a result of the 2008/09 Great Recession period. Subsequently, the period past the Great Recession is characterized by massive growth and expansion of employed individuals building up to 713,620 persons in December 2018. Thus, it indicates a healthy economic growth that substantially provides employment opportunities for the residents of Hillsborough County, FL.
Figure 1: Employed Persons in Hillsborough County, FL.
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Figure 2 below summarizes the rate of unemployment in Hillsborough County, FL, in the period between January 2001 and December 2018. As of January 2001, the rate of unemployment in Hillsborough County, FL, constituted 3.5 percent. April 2006 marked the lowest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent. The subsequent period up to December 2009 rose to gradually to 11.4 percent unemployment rate. The highest in the county (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The following period up to December 2018, dropped drastically to 3.2 percent of the unemployment rate.
Figure 2: Unemployment Rate in Hillsborough County, FL.
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Employment by Industry
Figure 3 below summarizes the employment by industry in Hillsborough County, FL, in 2018. Health care and social assistance constitute the highest employer, at 13.3 percent. The sector is followed by retail trade at 11.7 percent, professional, scientific, and technical services at 9.02 percent, finance and insurance at 8.34 percent, and educational services at 8.02 percent (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The sectors are followed by others, including accommodation and food services (7.44 percent), construction (6.61), administrative and support and waste management services (5.58), manufacturing (4.89), transportation and warehousing (4.8), and public administration (3.78). The least employer industries include real estate, rental, and leasing (2.88), wholesale trade (2.74), arts and entertainment (2.42), information (1.97), agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (1.05), and other services except public administration (4.5) (Data USA). Thus, it marks the competitiveness of the industries in generating substantial economic growth in the county.
Figure 3: Employment by Industries
(Source: Data USA).
Per Capita Income from 2001 to 2018
Figure 4 illustrates the per capita personal income in Hillsborough County, FL, in the period between 2001 and 2018. The per capita personal income is calculated on annual frequency to determine the overall earnings per individual. In January 2001, the per capita personal income stood at $29,561. This is characterized by continuous growth with a slight drop in 2009 to maintain $37,262. Subsequently, from 2009 to 2018, steady growth has been experienced in the per capita personal income in the county to $47,000 (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). Thus, it serves as an indication of the improvement of living standards and quality of life in the county.
Figure 4: Per Capita Personal Income in Hillsborough County, FL.
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).
Discussion of How COVID-19 Has Affected or Will Affect the County’s Economy
The coronavirus spreading across the world, Hillsborough County, FL, has not been spared by the highly infectious disease. The number of confirmed positive cases in the county consists of 32,996 with 395 fatalities. The economy so far has dramatically been disrupted, leading to the slowing down of growth and critical performing sectors. The government response measures such as social distance and call for people to remain indoors has dramatically disrupted the economy. Schools, restaurants, eateries, public places, among other economically viable industries, remain shut with stringent guidelines for reopening.
The coronavirus has seen government pump over $100 million for the COVID-19 Recovery Assistance plan form small businesses under the Hillsborough County’s Rapid Response Recovery Program (Tampa Gov.). This is, however, not enough to revamp the economy that continues to take a downturn and slowed growth with the continued spread of the virus. The aftermath of COVID-19 is going to experience economic stagnation with much of the funds committed to revamping the key sectors such as tourism that will have shut entirely. Therefore, economically, COVID-19 has extensively adverse implications on the economy.
Data USA. Hillsborough County, FL, retrieved from https://datausa.io/profile/geo/hillsborough-county-fl/#housing, August 12, 2020.
Hillsborough County, Florida. Hillsborough County History, retrieved from https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/about-hillsborough/history/hillsborough-county-history, August 12, 2020.
Tampa Gov. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information, City of Tampa, Florida, retrieved from https://www.tampagov.net/emergency-management/covid-19, August 12, 2020.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Per Capita Personal Income in Hillsborough County, FL [PCPI12057], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PCPI12057, August 12, 2020.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employed Persons in Hillsborough County, FL [LAUCN120570000000005], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LAUCN120570000000005, August 12, 2020.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment Rate in Hillsborough County, FL [FLHILL7URN], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FLHILL7URN, August 12, 2020.