The wage growth that occurred early in the pandemic has effectively been wiped out, according to a new analysis of economic data.
Inflation might be the talk of the town, but new data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis points to an equally troubling trend for residents of some Gulf Coast metro areas.
According to an analysis of the data by LLC.org, a website that helps people start businesses, Tampa Bay residents’ incomes aren’t keeping up with the pace of inflation: Per capita income grew from $44,407 in 2010 to $52,981 in 2020 — an increase of $8,574, or 19.3%.
On paper, a nearly 20% increase over a decade doesn’t sound too shabby. But it’s well off the national pace. Nationwide, per capita income rose from $47,271 in 2010 to $59,515 — a 25.9% jump. Plus, with the Consumer Price Index spiking 8.5% year-over-year in March, the wage growth that occurred early in the pandemic has effectively been wiped out.
LLC.org’s analysis also shatters the perception of Tampa Bay being an affordable place to live. When per capita income gains are compared against the rate of inflation, the region ranks seventh lowest out of the 55 largest U.S. metro areas. No. 1 on the list — meaning it had the lowest per capita income increase from 2010 to 2020 — is the Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Hill metro area in Texas.
LLC.org also studied per capita income vs. inflation data for midsize metros, and two Gulf Coast communities — Lakeland-Winter Haven and Cape Coral-Fort Myers — didn't fare too well there, either. Lakeland-Winter Haven residents’ per capita income grew by just 13.4% from 2010 to 2020, while folks in Cape Coral-Fort Myers saw wages rise 18.6%.