Publication Type: Not Available
Authors: Dewey, James F; Denslow, David
Division: Economic Analysis
After removing the effects of local amenities, prices, and local labor supply and demand shocks, on a wage based measure of skill Florida’s average job just before the Great Recession was 3% below the nation’s, down from 2% at the beginning of the last decade. Florida mimics the national pattern of wage and job polarization—the hollowing of the middle of the skill distribution coupled with strongly rising relative pay for high-skill jobs, slightly rising relative pay for low-skill jobs, and falling relative pay for mid-skill jobs. In addition, labor force participation fell more in Florida than in the U.S. over the past 30 years, and this was more pronounced at low education levels. Simultaneously, real earnings for those with low education levels fell, but less than in the rest of the nation. Florida is in the midst of a pronounced emptying of the middle of its job skill distribution in which increasing demand for workers in low-skill manual non-routine jobs is apparently outpacing increasing demand for high-skill analytical workers. The agglomeration economies exhibited by high-skill jobs and expected baby boom retirements are likely to accelerate this process absent aggressive and urgent public investment in education and infrastructure, which seems unlikely.