Military annually brings $5.2 billion to Okaloosa County

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A soldier checks out after shopping at the Crestview Wal-Mart. Service members and their families have direct impact on the local economy as they buy homes, shop in area stores and frequent local restaurants.

FILE PHOTO / News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 06:49 PM.

CRESTVIEW — The Air Force and Army’s Northwest Florida presence has been an economic generator for Crestview and surrounding communities.

The University of West Florida’s Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development estimates the average earnings per military-related job are $87,300; annual military economic impact to Okaloosa County is $5.2 billion with more than 58,800 local jobs.

In Northwest Florida, military workers generate more than $4 billion in annual sales activity and consume $3.3 billion in goods. Defense annually brings capital investment of $495 million, according to a 2012 report from the Association of Defense Communities.

The influx of an estimated 6,000 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) troops and airmen of the Eglin 33rd Fighter Wing, support staff and family members helped shield Crestview and its housing market from the recent recession.

Armament development

Armament development, including creating the 2002 Massive Ordnance Air Burst bomb, commonly known as the "mother of all bombs,” remains an integral part of Eglin Air Force Base's mission.

Eglin test support personnel, mostly civilian employees, run and analyze weapons trials by the U.S. Air Force and allied nations. Foreign allies routinely rotate in and out of Eglin for training on the F-35 fighter jet.

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