The Sunshine Economy: The Incredible Shrinking Florida Paycheck

Sep 10, 2013

Half of the paychecks of Floridians are smaller today than they were in 2004. Thanks to a wicked combination of fewer working hours and the financial erosion of inflation, the median hourly wage in Florida is $0.63 less than what it was eight years ago, according to a recent study by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University.


To put it simply; Florida median wages have not kept pace with inflation. The effect of that is less buying power in those paychecks. While the cost of living has increased, wages have not, leading to less disposal income and less cash to stash away for emergencies, retirement or education savings.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Jobs

FIU Visiting Professor Ali Bustamante is a co-author of the study. He and his wife also are expecting their first child. His work on the Florida economy worries him. The Sunshine State economy is in a negative feedback loop of lower wages, less consumption and lower economic growth. Bustamante figures Florida has been in this dwindling loop for the better part of a decade. It predates the Great Recession and shows little ability to break out of it right now.

We spoke with Bustamante on the Sunshine Economy.