Tampa Bay ranked best in transportation and worst in housing in the Tampa Bay Partnership's latest Regional Economic Scorecard released Tuesday.
The region also improved in three out of the six categories measured by the partnership, but that wasn't enough to nudge it forward overall. The bay area remained mired at fifth out of six Southeastern metros benchmarked, unchanged from last summer's ranking. Dallas was tops overall while Jacksonville came in last.
Tampa Bay's hardest-hit category was housing, where it dropped two notches to last place as housing affordability for single-family homes fell. Rental affordability improved, but not more than the other metros.
The brightest light of the survey — jumping to No. 1 in transportation — came with a cloud. The bay area's improvement in vehicle miles per capita and commute times could have been tied to fewer people driving to work amid the still-sluggish economy, the partnership's report suggested.
In addition to transportation, Tampa Bay also moved up a notch in two other categories: employment/workforce and income/productivity. The region added 15,500 jobs between the third quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2011, the largest jobs gain since the summer 2007 scorecard.
Media General's John Schueler, who chairs the partnership's Regional Business Plan, called the uptick in job creation "early evidence of a rebounding Tampa Bay economy."