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Florida Economy

The United States has become a service economy and many states, Florida included, generate most of their revenue through service industries. Spending by tourists and retired people contribute significantly.

Agriculture

In terms of revenue generated, Florida's top five agricultural products are greenhouse and nursery products, oranges, cane for sugar, tomatoes, and cattle and calves.

Livestock

Behind all the fruits, vegetables and field crops, beef cattle and milk are Florida's leading livestock products.

Poultry and egg production is important along with thoroughbred horses.

Crops

Oranges are Florida's most important agricultural product. Other citrus fruits grown include grapefruit, limes, tangerines and tangelos.

Tomatoes are Florida's second leading crop. Non-citrus fruits grown include bananas, papayas. strawberries and watermelons.

Vegetables grown in Florida are cabbage, celery, cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, potatoes, snap beans, squash and sweet corn.

Florida leads the nation in the production of sugar cane. Other field crops are peanuts, soybeans and tobacco.

Florida is second only to California in the production of greenhouse and nursery products and ranks first in the production of indoor plants.

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Manufacturing

Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes.

Citrus fruit processing (fresh fruit juice, canned fruit juice, canned fruit) leads the way in the Florida manufacturing sector. Jellies, marmalades and frozen vegetables are processed, followed by coffee, dairy and seafood.

Electrical equipment (military communications systems, broadcasting components and telephone equipment) manufacturing ranks second, behind the food processing industry.

Other manufactured products include chemicals (fertilizer), printed material (books, newspapers) and scientific instruments.

Mining

About 4/5 of the country's phosphate rock (much used in fertilizer) is produced in Florida, making it the state's most important mined product.

Oil is the second ranking mined product followed by limestone.

Clays to filter petroleum and for pottery are produced along with some quantities of ilmenite, monazite, thorium and zircon.

Fishing

Florida's fishing industry catches shrimp, lobsters, grouper and clams. Commercial fishes include mackerel, mullet, swordfish and tuna. The catch includes, menhaden, oysters, scallops and sharks as well.

The major freshwater fish is catfish.

Services

Service industries comprise the largest portion of the Florida economy.

The community, business and personal services sector ranks first in importance, with private health care, law firms, hotels and amusement parks, and repair shops.

Ranking second is Florida's finance, insurance and real estate industry. Rapid growth in the Sunshine State has resulted in growth in real estate (homes, stores, offices) development, insurance and finance including investment firms.

Wholesale (oil, citrus fruits, liquor) and retail (automobile dealerships, food stores, service stations) trade ranks third.

Sources

Arch Fredric Blakey and Peter O. Muller, "Florida," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.worldbookonline.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/201260, August 14, 2001.

U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Agricultural Statistics Service, "Florida State Agriculture Overview, 2004", 3 January 2006, <http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ag_Overview/AgOverview_FL.pdf> (12 January 2006)

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