Wondering why your budget for a night on South Beach last year seems to be coming up a little short last year?
That's because income increases statewide were being outpaced by inflation, a federal report released Tuesday said. In short, your money stretched a little less in 2008 than it did two years ago when you could splurge on that third Rum Runner at the club.
With unemployment rates at an all time high and salaries being slashed left and right, the trend will likely continue into 2009.
So this year, you might want to order a round of bottled water or maybe cranberry juice (hold the vodka) at the bar.
Florida's per capita income-to-inflation rate ranked in the bottom five nationwide in 2008, according to the Commerce Department report. Last year, the average annual income grew about 1.7 percent or $600 from the previous year. Meanwhile, good ol' inflation was up 4.6 percent in the same time span. It doesn't take a mathematician to conclude those numbers are grim.
But it could be worse.
You could live in sunny Arizona, where people are getting burned in the wallet and on the golf course.
The state with the largest increase in per capita income was, you guessed, that desirable relocation spot North Dakota.
And if having yak milk delivered to you daily and a caribou deliver your mail doesn't tickle your fancy, try Alaska, the state with second highest increase.
Or you could just stay home.