Median household incomes are on the way up in the Tampa and Sarasota-Bradenton regions, according to a new report from PNC Financial Services Group.
But the gap between local and national wages remains a tough obstacle to overcome, the report adds.
An analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data and Moody's Analytics, the wage and income information is part of PNC's third quarter Tampa Bay market outlook.
On the positive side, according to PNC estimates, the median household income has “likely recovered” from its 9% drop during the recession, the report states. The bank forecasts incomes will continue to rise, from around $47,000 a year to $50,000 by 2017. “A tighter labor market and increases in mid-wage employment in such industries as construction, finance and professional services will lift average wages slowly over the next several quarters,” the report states.
Yet the income increases, say PNC analysts, aren't likely to dent the gap between regional and national median incomes in the “foreseeable future.” It's a stark gap: The median income in the region was about 7% below the national income in 2006, according to the report. That gap, analysts say, has likely widened to about 11%.
Of the two metro areas, North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota enjoys much faster earnings growth because of the better mix of jobs being created, according to the report. In Tampa, most of the jobs being added are in low-wage sectors, including retail, leisure and hospitality. That factor, the report states, “limits the region's potential to close the gap.”