Saturday, November 18, 2017
Business

Florida's household income slips, signaling tougher recovery ahead

RECOMMENDED READING


We're still going in the wrong direction.

The income of the typical Florida family dropped 2.9 percent last year, one of the sharpest reminders that the Sunshine State's deflated economy remains mired in unemployment and lower-wage jobs. The decline means we will be financially challenged if we hope to spend our way out of this state's problems.

That decline in Florida's median household income appears in Census Bureau data released Thursday. Florida is one of 18 states to see its median household income — the amount at which half the state households make more and half make less — decline in 2011 from the previous year.

Florida's median household income dropped by $1,310 to $44,299 last year from $45,609 in 2010, according to the Census Bureau.

It is the latest, significant signal that the Florida economic rebound remains on a slower, less competitive track despite the increasingly stubborn claims by Florida Gov. Rick Scott that shrinking unemployment is a sign of his success in leading the state.

Eight states reported bigger year-to-year declines in median income. Among those, Nevada was worst (down 6 percent) followed by Hawaii (5.2 percent), Louisiana (4.7 percent) and California (3.8 percent). Florida and Arizona tied, each with 2.9 percent drops, although Arizona's household income is more than $2,400 higher than Florida's.

Only 13 states reported lower media household incomes than Florida. The lowest: Mississippi at $36,919. The highest income state: Maryland's $70,004.

Nationally, median income fell by 1.3 percent to $50,502 in 2011. Florida's household income is nearly 14 percent lower, a substantial gap from the national figure. Worse, Florida's lower median household income fell faster, by 2.9 percent, than the country's overall 1.3 percent drop.

Is this the new normal? Is Florida facing a downward spiral in household income as lower-wage jobs overwhelm higher paying opportunities?

Or is this more typical of a glacial economic rebound where jobs that pay less and require fewer qualifications arrive first in bulk before higher-wage jobs revive?

A Thursday Wall Street Journal story on falling household income cites 57-year-old Donna Durham of Lakeland, who now makes $2 an hour less than she did before the recession as a machine operator at an embroidery shop. She has survived on part-time jobs. A 2009 diploma earned at a technical school that trained her to design architectural blueprints has not helped. As Durham told the Journal, those jobs were taken by laid-off engineers settling for lower-wage jobs.

In fact, the Lakeland-Winter Haven region of Florida saw a sharp 5 percent drop in its median household income to $40,272. That's the steepest decline last year of any larger Florida metro area.

Another Census Bureau report on poverty out this week says Florida's poverty rate in 2011 rose to 17 percent from 16.5 percent of the population in 2010. That's more than 3 million Floridians.

Fittingly, perhaps, these census numbers on declining median income and rising poverty became public the day after Forbes magazine unveiled its annual Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans. Of those, 32 were identified living, apparently quite well, in Florida.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected]

Comments

Parents, children welcome downsized MOSI in Tampa

TAMPA — Avery, 6, slid his sneakers up the side of 200-pound rubber tire from the space shuttle Columbia and sat on top.His father, Ilder Jeannot, called for him to get off of it — usually climbing on museum displays is frowned upon. But in the new M...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Published: 11/17/17
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Published: 11/17/17
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial trucking industry.B...
Published: 11/17/17
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Published: 11/17/17
Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Plotting a shopping strategy for the holiday weekend? Here’s a look at holiday store opening hours for some major retailers:Thanksgiving8 a.m.: Kmart1 p.m.: JCPenney4 p.m.: GameStop5 p.m.: Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys "R" Us, Kohl’s6 p.m.: Old Navy, Target...
Published: 11/17/17
Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

TAMPA — The two biggest trends in the automotive space are ones you’ve likely heard of: electric vehicles and autonomous cars. Both will feature prominently at the Tampa Bay International Auto Show today through Sunday. The event at the ...
Published: 11/17/17
Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

LARGO — Driving down West Bay Drive, you may notice some changes to downtown Largo.A new 29-unit apartment complex on Ridge Road stands finished and ready for residents. South of the complex, land that was formerly home to a community of rundown cott...
Published: 11/17/17