unemployment dipping back to long-time low of 5%
key economic official predicts the upcoming holidays will lead Miami-Dade
County back to its recent low 5% unemployment rate of December 1999.
of July, the unemployment rate was 5.2%, compared with 5.5% in July
1999. With both the tourism and shopping seasons approaching, Frank
Nero, president & CEO of the Beacon Council, said he expects unemployment
to drop to 5% by year's end.
in unemployment-rate decreases can include the influence of the tourism
season, which is usually heightened during the fall and winter months,
he said. And an increase in shopping at the holiday season, Mr. Nero
said, would bring the rate down by creating a temporary need for more
Williamson, president of the Miami-based Williamson Economics Group
Inc., agreed it would be possible for the jobless rate to drop to
5% by the end of 2000 but cautioned against emphasizing such a decrease.
think it's a reasonable prediction but you shouldn't read too much
significance into it," Mr. Williamson said. "The unemployment
rate is still a lot higher than the rest of the state."
unemployment was 3.9% as of July, according to Clyde Diao, an economist
for the Florida Office of Labor & Employment Security, the same rate
the state recorded for that month in 1999.
Miami-Dade's most recent unemployment rate was six-tenths of a percentage
point less than it was a year ago and more than two percentage points
less than it was in 1996, it remained above the state's average.
December 1999, the county's jobless rate declined to as low as 5%,
Mr. Diao said, down from the previous low of 5.8% in August 1999.
unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the total number of unemployed
persons by the number of the labor force," Mr. Diao said.
officials need to make some "structural changes" to the
local job market, according to Mr. Williamson. He said economic development
organizations need to focus on attracting more non-Latin America-based
companies to the region.
county has been overly focused on doing business with Latin America,"
Mr. Williamson said. "It's good in the long run, but economies
down there are very cyclical."
1996, the county has been adding 20,000 jobs a year. If this growth
continues, the unemployment rate could fall to nearly 3%, Mr. Nero
to 1996, Miami-Dade had been averaging a job-growth rate of about
11,000 jobs a year or between 1.1% and 1.2% of total employment, Mr.
rest of the state's labor force is growing at an average of 3.5%,
the state is ahead of the county in job growth, Miami-Dade has made
significant strides, Mr. Nero said. More than 1 million people now
are employed in the county, he said.
Beacon Council, the county's economic development agency, has created
7,010 direct and indirect jobs in Miami-Dade so far this fiscal year,
council economists said.
Florida Department of Labor & Employment Security, (850) 973-5131;
Beacon Council, (305) 579-1300; Williamson Economics Group, (305)