2021 E-Insights Report


The Tampa Bay E-Insights report is the result of a challenging research inquiry by faculty and graduate students from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business. The goal of this initiative was to benchmark Tampa Bay across multiple economic indicators relative to 19 other Metropolitan Statistical Areas and to provide policy recommendations to move the proverbial needle when it comes to Tampa Bay’s positive ranking on different economic indicators. To this end, researchers adopted a data-driven approach because we strongly believe that data-driven insights are key to the accurate decision making and that the resulting analysis could help civic and business leaders to make informed decisions.

Since 2017, USF researchers have released three E-Insights reports. The first was a study of economic competitiveness of the Tampa Bay region. Later inquiries expanded the analysis to include inclusive economic growth. One salient feature of this analysis is that it uses real-time big data signals such as Google search trends to derive the most recent or current insights. Also, researchers employ rigorous econometric analyses to identify the primary drivers of economic growth, using the results to recommend policy initiatives.

This year, the E-Insights report assumes more importance than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant adverse impact on the regional economies across the nation. Scholars used real-time big data signals to compare the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of Tampa Bay with 19 other MSAs. This could help the leadership of this community to take appropriate measures to bring the region out of the recession created by the pandemic.

Another issue that has dominated the headlines, conversations and actions this year is the fight for racial justice and equity. In this report, researchers also focused on the performance of the Tampa Bay region on the parameters related to racial equity and inclusive growth. This analysis could help civic leaders to channelize investment in necessary directions to bridge racial gaps.