Asset & Opportunity scorecard paints bleak picture for Florida workers


Florida ranks among the worst in the nation when it comes to providing residents with stable, decent-paying jobs, according to a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

Thirty-two percent of jobs in Florida are in occupations where the median annual pay is below the poverty line of $23,283 for a family of four.

In CFED’s ranking of Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, Florida finished 43rd for percentage of low-wage jobs, 41st for average annual pay ($44,179) and 40th for the number of underemployed workers.

The CFED Scorecard attempts to rank states according to residents’ ability to achieve financial security and the effectiveness of government policies in creating an environment where it can happen. Florida earned a “F”, three “D”s and a “C” in the five financial categories graded.

“Passing legislation that would increase the minimum wage is imperative to raise the incomes of our lowest paid workers, but Florida also needs to consider a range of measures that will help these workers keep more of the money they earn,” said Alice Vickers of the Florida Prosperity Partnership.

The Scorecard gave Florida “D”s in residents’ Assets, Jobs and Homeownership. The “F” came in Health Care and the “C” in Education.

The “D” in Assets was driven by a low percentage of households with savings accounts (40th), percentage of residents with subprime credit (41st) and the percentage of accounts 90 days past due (45th).

The CFED Scorecard comes on the heels of a report released Monday which ranked Florida 4th in income inequality survey. Last month, a United Way ALICE report revealed 45 percent of Florida households have difficulty making monthly ends meet due to insufficient income.

Dale Brill, a former director of the state office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development under former Gov. Jeb Bush notes things are not getting any better because Florida’s economy is built on retirees, tourism and agriculture – three industries dependent on low-paying jobs.

A Brill commentary for the Gainesville Sun can be read here.

Gov. Rick Scott has won two elections campaigning as a job creator, saying his policies have resulted in more than 700,000 new private sector jobs in four years but Brill and others question whether they are the productive type of jobs Florida needs.

“It appears it is more important for him (Scott) to have big numbers than to have jobs that provide adequate resources and income for our citizens to be able to . . . put food on the table,” Sen. Arthenia Joyner observed Wednesday.

Nationwide the Scorecard found that low-wage jobs are increasing in all but two states and that 36 states saw a decrease in wages between 2012 and 2013.

Nationally, 56 percent of consumers have subprime credit scores and 20 percent of households rely on fringe financial services such as payday loan companies.

Data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia is here.

James Call


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