TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Costs are going up as supply chain issues strangle the recovering United States economy, but wages aren’t keeping pace, and they haven’t for a while. Inflation shows no signs of slowing down this holiday season, despite progress on the president’s economic agenda.
Florida has a higher minimum wage than the federal government requires. While the country overall expects a minimum of $7.25 per hour, the Sunshine State sets its bottom dollar at $10 per hour for its workers, an increase that hit wallets in September.
Rent costs and home sale prices are both up, but available inventory is down. Energy costs are also rising as the widely reported supply chain issues continue.
U.S. households usually spend their money on three main things: Housing, food and transportation.
Meanwhile, the latest consumer price index reports showed that national inflation had reached 6.2 percent, the highest level in 31 years, since December 1990.
And gasoline is $3.41 per gallon on average around the U.S. In Florida, it’s $3.27.
Even with higher wages than other states, and moves by businesses to make cost of living adjustments to pay, in the three major categories that U.S. consumers spend the most on, relief on price gains does not appear on the horizon, at least in the short term.
So, as inflation surges forward, is Florida’s higher minimum wage enough to fight off economic concern?
The short answer: Probably not.
Wages just aren’t keeping pace with the rising costs facing American consumers. It’s a trend that’s continued for years. While companies are starting to increase the wages they offer to attract workers post-pandemic, and some are offering sign-on bonuses, the current economic crisis paints a picture of too little, too late.
Costs are hitting Floridians at the gas pump, in the grocery store and in the apartment and housing markets.
A federal fight for higher wages hasn’t gone the way of workers either, instead failing to gain ground in both chambers of U.S. Congress, despite pressure and support from voters and lawmakers across the political spectrum.
A previously-passed set of incremental wage increases in Florida will end with workers making $15 per hour by 2026, but the volume of wage increases does not match the amount that the cost of living has risen.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released a personal income and outlay report for September 2021. The report found that personal income had decreased by a national total of $216.2 billion, or 1 percent, this past September.
At the same time, wages remain comparatively unchanged.