1. Business

Led by construction and healthcare, Florida outpaces U.S. in income growth

Construction wages in Florida rose 12.65 percent in 2014-2015. Health care wages also drove an overall increase in Floridians’ pay.
Published Mar. 26, 2016

Thank you, construction. You, too, health care.

Driven by vigorous pay increases in construction and health care jobs, personal income in Florida rose 5.2 percent in 2015 over 2014, outpacing the nation's income growth rate last year of 4.4 percent.

The numbers, reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, are good news for Floridians who have registered paltry gains in personal income in recent years. In this report, personal income is the sum of net earnings by place of residence, property income and personal current transfer receipts.

Florida ranked sixth among all states in personal income gains in 2015, trailing only Georgia, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and No. 1 California. Regionally, the biggest gains were clustered in the Southeast and along the West Coast.

That's the good news. Florida still lags well behind a majority of states in per capita personal income, a perennial thorn in the state that could take generations to improve. Florida's per capita personal income in 2015 was $44,101. The national average is $47,669, which means Floridians earn 93 cents for every $1 earned on average nationwide.

That difference ranks Florida No. 28 among all states in personal income.

Here are five additional takeaways from the Commerce Department data:

1 Florida boasts the highest per capita income ($44,101) in the Southeast after Virginia ($52,136) which is inflated by federal paychecks in its northern suburbs of Washington, D.C.

2 Florida was among 33 states — including the giants California, Texas and New York — to see slower personal income growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 than in the third quarter.

3 Health care earnings in Florida grew 5.68 percent in 2015 from 2014. That's a lower rate than in some industries, but in sheer dollars is the biggest industry contributor to personal income gains, closely followed by construction and professional, scientific and technical services.

4 By industry, the big winner in the pace of earnings growth was construction where earnings grew last year at more than 12.5 percent. That spike most likely reflects the sharp increase in commercial and residential building and the increasing competition to hire a still limited supply of construction workers. (In the past 12 months, February to February, Florida added 28,500 construction jobs, second only to California, the Associated General Contractors of America Association said Friday.)

Nationally, construction earnings are now higher than they were before the great recession.

5 In sheer dollars, earnings in Florida's health care industry grew $3.75 billion in 2015. That was followed by construction industry earnings, up $3.37 billion, and professional, scientific and technical services, up $3.33 billion.

Contact Robert Trigaux at Follow @venturetampabay.


  1. Tampa Bay homeowners are now able to sell their homes to Zillow. Zillow
    It joins Opendoor and Offerpad in making "instant'' offers.
  2. The microbrewery Double Branch Artisanal Ales is the first tenant signed at The Grove after the acquisition of the Wesley Chapel shopping center last month by Mishorim-Gold Properties for nearly $63 million. Double Branch Artisanal Ales.
    Mark Gold wants The Grove at Wesley Chapel to become the community’s downtown
  3. Jeffrey D. Senese was inaugurated as Saint Leo University's 10th president. Pictured, Monsignor Robert Morris (left), Class of 1979, and a member of the board of trustees, and D. Dewey Mitchell, chair of the university’s board of trustees, bestow the presidential medallion on Senese. Renee Gerstein and William Speer, Saint Leo University
    New and notes on local businesses
  4. Dr. Manjusri Vennamaneni (center) was awarded Businesswoman of the Year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. With her are Matt Romeo, President of PrimeCare (left), and Dr. Pariksith Singh, CEO, Access Health Care Physicians. Vince Vanni
    News and notes on local businesses
  5. Tampa Bay Lighting host a watch party on the beach at the Tradewinds resort on St. Pete Beach in February. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times
    TradeWinds is the biggest resort in Pinellas County.
  6. A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from over Tampa Bay.
    The news that the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation wants to change its name to include “Tampa Bay” has been met with resistance.
  7. The Whole Coffee Company makes Dunkin’-branded Coffee Thins as well as Tim Hortons Double Double bars and its own Whole Coffee Company-branded nudge coffee bars. (Photo courtesy The Whole Coffee Company) The Whole Coffee Company
    The Whole Coffee Company, which is based in Miami, was previously known as Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa. ProspEquity Partners of Tampa owns a majority stake in Whole Coffee.
  8. The Corona Cove opens as the Florida Aquarium's new outdoor bar. The beer company is pledging continued donations to aid conservation efforts. Florida Aquarium
    The beer company also has pledged donations to aid conservation efforts.
  9. The Triton cantaloupe, created with help from Eckerd College. Eckerd College
    The St. Petersburg college teamed up with a central Florida plant breeder to create the Triton cantaloupe.
  10. FILE - In this May 14, 2019, fiel photo, containers are piled up at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China’s economic growth slowed to a 26-year low in the latest quarter as a tariff war with Washington weighed on exports and auto sales and other domestic activity weakened. The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.2 percent in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6 percent, data showed Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. AP
    Growth in the world’s second-largest economy slipped to 6% in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6.2%, data showed Friday.