Tampa Bay's economy was the ninth fastest-growing among the 100 largest metros nationwide last year, and that momentum is expected to continue for several years.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is offering that rosy assessment in a detailed analysis released Friday morning during the kickoff of the group's annual meeting in Dallas.
At $125.7 billion, Tampa Bay's economy last year was the 24th largest among all metros.
This year, the bay area economic output is expected to swell 3.6 percent to $131.7 billion, moving it up one notch to No. 23 as it overtakes Pittsburgh.
The fastest growers among the 100 largest metro areas were mostly in the West and South regions where the real estate market recovery has fueled economic growth. That was certainly the story for Tampa Bay last year, where a resurgent housing market, higher tourism draw and growing need for professional and business service jobs all contributed.
Between 2013 and 2020, Tampa Bay's economy is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.4 percent, according to the mayors' conference report, which would place it in a seven-way tie for 46th best among all 263 metros.
The report was optimistic in the short term, anticipating almost half the metro economies will grow by more than 3 percent in 2015.
Hundreds of the nation's mayors are attending the annual gathering to discuss the economy, job creation and other issues affecting metropolitan areas.