RISEP – FIU: Workers’ Standard of Living in Florida Continues to Decline

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Florida Public Employees

September 1, 2013

From:  Research Institute of Social and Economic Policy  – Florida International University



CONTACT: Alayne Unterberger – 813-477-2882; aunterbe@fiu.edu

Workers’ Standard of Living in Florida Continues to Decline
 Press Conference on Labor Day, September 2, 2013

MIAMI – The latest State of Working Florida report points to a continued decline in workers’ standard of living since 2000.  The report, slated for release on Labor Day by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP) at Florida International University, provides a longitudinal analysis that reveals that the slide in standard of living began prior to the Great Recession.  In a departure from previous State of Working Florida Reports, authors utilized a framing question and a series of worker testimonials.

A full press conference, with workers giving testimonials, will take place at 2 PM on Labor Day, September 2, 2013, at the Blue Marlin Fish House, 2500 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach, FL 33160.  This event is co-sponsored by the FIU Center for Labor Research and Studies, Florida New Majority, SEIU and Catalyst Miami.  

Report authors Ali Bustamante and Jasmin Griffin structured this year’s analysis around the question, ‘how has our standard of living changed since the year 2000?’ and looked in-depth at four areas, which mirror the report: 1) employment, 2) income and inequality, 3) living costs and 4) poverty.   Testimonials from five Miami-Dade workers about their struggles put a more human face on the massive amounts of data and statistics. This year’s report highlights some of the root causes behind growing disparities. To that point, we found that the average annual salaries for the top six private sector employing industries have declined by about 4% every year between 2000 and 2011. This means that the majority of Floridians facing poverty are employed; however, their employment is not enough hours or at a high enough wage to pull them out of poverty.  In 2012, the majority of Florida’s workers (68.5%) earned less than $20 per hour, with a median income of $41,600 annually.

Florida now lags behind every other state besides Texas in number of workers with earnings at or below the federal minimum in the U.S in 2012. Wage gaps and inequalities fall along ethnic lines, with Black workers three times more likely and Hispanic/Latinos twice as likely to earn less than whites.   Meanwhile poverty has increased along the same lines.  Declines in standard of living negatively impact social mobility, future economic growth and slow economic recovery.  This report takes the view that these declines pre-date the Great Recession and that they have been exacerbated over the course of the last twelve years.

The report will be released on Sunday, September 1.  To receive a copy under embargo, please contact Alayne Unterberger at 813.477.2882 or aunterbe@fiu.edu.  RISEP is also participating in a panel on jobs and wages on Thursday, Sept. 5, from 5:30pm to 7pm at FIU in LC 110. The panel will feature Millie Herrera from US Department of Labor,  State Sen. Dwight Bullard, Ali Bustamante, FIU and Abdolrahim Javadzadeh, FIU.


Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy

Florida International University
LC 313

Miami, FL 33199

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