S. Florida wages grew faster than U.S. average in 2013

S. Florida pay is up more than national average

South Florida pay went up 2.4 percent in 2013, higher than the 2 percent national average, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.

Only the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area had a higher increase in wages and salaries -- 3.5 percent -- last year, according to the federal agency that surveyed the nation's 15 largest communities.

Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties tied with the San Francisco area for having the second highest pay increase of 2.4 percent, BLS found.

South Florida's higher pay increase reflects the growing local economy outpacing the rest of the nation, said economist Jorge Salazar-Carrillo, who directs the Center of Economic Research at Florida International University.


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"Our economy is expanding fast," he said, citing the growth in trade, construction, technology and other sectors.

Companies in the three counties have more flexibility to create jobs since this is not a highly unionized area, said economist William B. Stronge, a professor emeritus at Florida Atlantic University.

Employers in South Florida can raise salaries without necessarily adding benefits, he said. Many workers in the three counties "are willing to work but they don’t demand benefits," Stronge said.

In fact, total compensation, which includes benefits, only increased 1.9 percent in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties in 2013, according to BLS.

dgehrke@tribune.com or Twitter @donnagehrke