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The Sunshine Economy

Anxiety and Opportunity In The Sunshine Economy

About two out of three Floridians report feeling some financial stress in a new statewide survey.

Floridians are anxious. Even after several years of job growth, most are worried about the economy. Two out of three Floridians say they are financially stressed. For those with a child at home, or living in South Florida, odds are even higher.

And the biggest threat to the economy according to Floridians? Low paying jobs, shows a new statewide Sunshine State Survey. The results of what Floridians report about their own economics mirror what Florida International University (FIU) found in its State of Working Florida report released last month. That report found a shrinking middle class here.

WLRN spoke with Susan MacManus, director of the Sunshine State Survey and a political science professor at the University of South Florida, and Ali Bustamante, author of the FIU report.

We also checked in with two regional business leaders to see if they share the anxiety felt by Floridians:  Aaron Lee, founder and CEO of marketing firm Illuminati Studios and president of the regional Entrepreneur's Organization, and  A.J. Meyer, vice president of business development at construction and real estate development firm ANF Group.


The average hourly wage in Florida has not increased in years, when considering inflation. Florida's minimum wage is $8.05 an hour. The Sunshine State Survey found 51 percent of those asked support raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour. The support was highest in South Florida, among women, blacks and Hispanics.

What's threatening your prosperity?

We asked our audience if they feel financially stressed and what threatens their economic futures. Here's how some of them responded:

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Tom Hudson is WLRN's Senior Economics Editor and Special Correspondent.