Often the key benchmark used to assess the strength of the labor market is the unemployment rate.
But in a Labor Day-timed snapshot on how Florida workers are faring, researchers at Florida International University zeroed in on two other numbers: $39,099 and $28,236.
The first is the average annual salary in Florida; the second figure is the median annual salary in the state, meaning half of Floridians make more than that amount and half make less.
In a report being released Thursday, the researchers say the huge difference between the average and median salaries shows that there are some high-wage earners skewing the results. It may mask just how many people are in the low-wage category statewide.
Turns out about 65 percent of workers earn less than the average salary of $39,099, with many of them facing “limited opportunities for economic mobility in their existing professions,” the report concludes.
Some other numbers in the analysis:
▪ 53.6 percent of jobs in food prep and service earn less than $10 an hour, as do 36.7 percent of jobs in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, and 34.9 percent of jobs in personal care and service.
▪ 56 percent of low-earnings workers are women, compared with 50 percent of middle-earnings workers and 36.7 percent of high-earnings workers.
▪ 70.4 percent of women earn salaries below the state average, compared with 59.8 percent of men.
▪ African-Americans represent 20.4 percent of low-earnings workers, 17.7 percent of middle-earnings workers and 9.3 percent of high-earning workers.
▪ Hispanics represent 27 percent of low-earnings workers, 24.6 percent of middle-earnings workers and 19.6 percent of high-earnings workers.
▪ Non-Hispanic whites earn annual salaries of $45,267 on average compared with $31,205 for racial and ethnic minorities and $32,160 for Hispanics.