Leon: Great for school, not business

In recent years, the City of Tallahassee has seen major trend shifts in its cost of living rates. Both the consumer price index as well as the cost of living has jumped around.

The consumer price index is a monthly report collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that tracks changes in the prices paid by consumers for goods and services. The reports are taken on a regional level. The State of Florida is located in the South Urban region.

Wayne Harris, vice president of technology development with the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, said the City of Tallahassee is currently feeling a spike in the consumer price numbers due to the increased price of oil in the country.

“The primary reason for this jumping around lately is due to the price of oil which went over $50 a barrel at one point. Now it’s closer to around $46,” said Harris. “The dramatic increase in the cost of oil is causing most areas around the country to have to go over $2 a gallon.”

The relative cost of living index measures the overall cost of living in different cities around the country. According to the Accra Cost of Living Index, Tallahassee is currently ranked around the national average of U.S. cities in terms of how expensive it is to settle and make a life for oneself within.

The latest numbers taken at the end of 2003 show that the median cost of a home in Tallahassee stands at roughly $137,000, figure that falls below both the state, at $158,500, and the national average of $163,000.

The labor force in the capital is also incredibly strong compared to the rest of the country. According to Enterprise Florida’s Web site, http://www.eflorida.

com, Tallahassee carries an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in comparison with the United States overall rate of 4.6 percent. Although the average wages of a citizen of Tallahassee does fall below the national average, the average per capita personal income for workers of the capital city is $28,056. The national income average is $31,632. While it is too early too say for sure, the recent enactment of a $1 state-wide minimum wage increase could help raise the overall income rate.

Traditionally, Tallahassee has been known for being a transitional city, a community where the vast majority of people spend four to seven years receiving their education, and then move on to bigger cities. So the overall of growth of the city is supposed to be limited.

The population of the city stands at 242,577. In the year 2003, there were 17,437 people who migrated into the city while another 13,924 citizens left, an overall net gain of 3,513 new people.

According to Forbes, Tallahassee is ranked 85th in comparison with 168 other cities of its comparable size in terms of business-related issues, based on 10 different categories. The Florida’s capital receives high marks when it comes to such things as advanced education and culture, but marked low points in such categories as growth and cost of doing business.

Contact Anthony M. Moore at a_m_moore@hotmail.com