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New analysis shows Florida economy recovering, but state's average wage is dropping


TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Florida's economy is showing signs of continued recovery, but a new analysis prepared by state economists also points to some problems.

State economists on Monday released a 29-page snapshot looking at everything from wages to housing prices and unemployment.

The good news: Florida was ranked 13th in 2013 in personal income growth and had a rate that exceeded the national average. Growth rates also are returning to more typical levels and consumer confidence is improving, as is building permit activity.

But the effects of the Great Recession will still linger for a few more years. Economists estimate that "normalcy" will not occur until 2016.

"It will take a few more years to climb completely out of the hole left by the recession," states the report prepared by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

The report, for example, noted that Florida's average wage is dropping further behind the average wage in the United States. Economists said that Florida's average wage dropped to 87.7 percent of the average U.S. wage in 2012.

Gov. Rick Scott has consistently touted the drop in the state's unemployment rate as a sign that his push for tax cuts and reduction in regulations has aided the state. The state's unemployment rate is currently 6.2 percent, which is below the national average.

But the state report notes the drop in Florida's unemployment rate has been helped by people dropping out of the labor force, or people who have not yet begun seeking work. The state's real unemployment rate would be 6.9 percent if participation had held steady since December 2011.


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