Tag: social services

As Wages and Salaries Stagnate in Florida and Its Metro Areas, Growth in Government Aid Props Up the Economy
August 12, 2011

Personal income in Florida and in each of the state’s 20 metropolitan areas rose slightly in 2010 after declining in 2009 for the first time in decades. What’s responsible for the increases indicates the importance of government aid in propping up the state’s struggling economy.

The good news about the state’s income increase is tempered by the fact that it still grew less than the 2.9 percent growth in all of the U.S.  Among Florida’s metro areas, only one grew at a faster rate than the national rate.

Particularly notable at a time of both federal and state budget cuts:  It wasn’t wages and salaries that created Florida’s income growth, but government aid, data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows.

Florida personal income increased by 2.1 percent in 2010, but wages and salaries, which make up more than half of state personal income, rose by less than a percentage point.  Government aid, up 8.2 percent, accounted for almost all the modest rise in personal income. 

(Government aid, formally called “transfer receipts from governments,” includes such programs as Social Security, unemployment compensation, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.)

In six metropolitan areas income from wages and salaries actually declined in 2010.  In addition, in none of the state’s 20 metros did the rate of increase equal the national growth rate.

But every Florida metro area recorded much higher increases in government aid, ranging from 6.2 percent to 12.8 percent.  (The greatest increases came in three metro areas impacted by the recovery dollars that flowed in after the BP oil spill – Crestview, Panama City, and Pensacola.)

Unemployment in Florida remains higher than the national average with 33 counties maintaining double digit rates.

As the number of jobs continues to lag in Florida along with income from wages and salaries, any decline in government dollars going to the social safety net will hurt income growth. 

Money from these programs is spent quickly for the basics of life.  Businesses benefit and the multiplier effect results in even more bang for the buck as the money turns over in the local economy.  

In addition to making it more difficult for millions of Floridians trying to get by, reducing these programs will make Florida’s overall economic growth slower and more difficult. 

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Florida's Spending Priorities Compared to Other States
April 19, 2010

Compared to other states, Florida spent proportionately less of its Fiscal Year 2008 budget on elementary and secondary education, higher education, public assistance, and "other" purposes than the national average of all states.  However, Florida spent proportionately more of its budget on Medicaid, transportation, and corrections than the national average.

When compared to the individual 50 states, Florida’s proportional spending on these programs ranks as follows:

Elementary & Secondary Ed: 26th in Spending
Higher Ed: 30th in Spending
Public Assistance: 45th in Spending
Medicaid: 10th in Spending
Corrections: 3th in Spending
Transportation: 12th in Spending
Other:  32nd in Spending

Source:  National Association of State Budget Officers “2008 State Expenditure Report,” Table 5, December 2009.

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900,000 Jobs Have Been Lost in Florida, But We May Have Turned the Corner
April 12, 2010

The national recession that officially began in December 2007 started hitting Florida several months earlier.  For almost three years now, the number of jobs has dropped almost every month, from a peak in March 2007 to a low in January 2010.

For the first time in 34 months, however, Florida actually gained a substantial number of jobs in February--26,300.  One month doesn't make a trend, of course, but it may indicate that the period of job losses in Florida may have come to an end.

The leveling off of job losses may reflect the billions of dollars injected into Florida’s economy by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  These "stimulus funds" helped preserve jobs funded by government, particularly teachers and others school workers.  In addition, some of the federal money aided private employers, such as those who provide healthcare services funded by the Medicaid program.

A look at Florida's long, steady decline in nonfarm jobs:


 For more about Florida's unemployment situation, see our report on job losses.


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