Commerce & Development

Economic Development & Commerce

Description of the Economy
Jefferson County is located in the Florida panhandle, 25 miles east of Tallahassee. The population of 14,000 is predominately rural. Monticello, the county seat, has a population of about 3,000. Agriculture has been the traditional base of the economy, but the community is in transition. The county serves as a bedroom for Tallahassee, the state's capital. Almost one half of the non-farm workforce commutes outside the county for employment, many to professional, academic, state government, service and trade jobs. In like manner, consumers in Jefferson County depend on Tallahassee and Thomasville, Georgia (20 miles north of Monticello) markets for hospitals and specialized health care, consumer durables, automobiles, sports and entertainment, and specialized retail purchases.

Population in the 1930, '40, '50, '60 and '70 census periods declined while high growth rates typified most of the central and south Florida counties. The county experienced positive growth with the 80 Census. Growth has been estimated at about 15% from 1990 to 1994. The population is roughly 56% white, 44% black, with the percentages reversed in the age group under age 18 years. With 22 people per square mile, the county population density is less than one-tenth Florida's density. The county is within the Second Congressional District, the largest district east of the Mississippi, indicating low population density throughout the region.

Employment and the Economy and Income
24% of county income is derived directly from agriculture and forestry. About 25% of total county income is from transfer payments. Unemployment is consistently below state average; in 1994 it was estimated at 5.4%. Over 90% of non-farm private employment is in small business, double the state rate. Per capita taxable sales was low compared to the state at $2,601, indicative of expenditures outside the county, similar to employment. Per capita income measured $14,575 in 1994, about two-thirds the Florida average of $20,650. 17.5% of households were below poverty level at the time of the 1990 Census. The county has been classified a persistent low-income county, one of only 6 in Florida that persist since the 1950 census with per capita income in the bottom quintile of counties.

Jefferson County Small Business Development Program

Small Business Development Program 

Jefferson County Vision ACTION Plan