By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The average annual wage in Florida dipped further below the national mark in 2020, according to an economic overview by the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

A 21-page report, posted Tuesday, said average wages in Florida are typically below the U.S. mark.

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But the state’s average in 2020 was nearly the lowest it has been compared to the national average in 20 years.

According to the report, the situation is linked to jobs that have been growing the fastest in Florida.

“For example, the accommodation and food services employment sector is large, has the lowest average annual wage, and had – until the pandemic – been growing faster than overall employment in the state,” the report said. “This sector is closely related to the health of Florida’s tourism industry which has been bearing the brunt of the COVID-related economic impacts.”

The state Department of Economic Opportunity reported Aug. 20 that Florida had recovered 953,400 of the 1,27 million jobs lost between February 2020 and April 2020 when the pandemic caused massive economic damage.

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Nearly 40% of the recovered jobs have been in the leisure and hospitality industry. In 2020, the average wage in Florida was 87.2% of the U.S. average, which was a drop from 87.7% in 2016, according to Tuesday’s report.

The current ratio matches the difference in 2014, which had been the lowest since 2001. In 2001, the state average was 87.1% of the U.S. mark.

The report also looked at the impact of COVID-19 on personal income, real gross domestic product by county, employment conditions, the housing market, the general revenue forecast and population growth, which is expected to slow.

“Between April 1, 2018 and 2019, population grew by 368,021 residents (1.77%), while between April 1, 2019 and 2020, the state added 387,479 residents (1.83%),” the report said. “As a result of the pandemic, population growth is expected to slow to 329,717 new residents (1.53%) in 2021, reflecting negative natural increase (more deaths than births). Between 2021 and 2025, growth is forecast to average 1.36%.”

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