New jobs outpacing new labor
Miami-Dade County employment has set a record and joblessness has slid to 3.6%, a near-decade-long low.
April's 1,091,272 jobs were 11,849 more than the previous high, in October 2005, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The labor force also set a record, 1,132,328, again topping an October 2005 high. But jobs grew twice as fast as the number of workers.
In this upturn, unlike past spurts, job growth outpaces labor force increases, said J. Antonio Villamil, CEO of the Washington Economics Group. "It sets us apart from prior episodes of upturns," he said, which were accompanied by high unemployment.
In the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, county business and professional service jobs rose 4.2%, finance 3.4%, leisure and hospitality 2.2% and information 2.1%. The Beacon Council puts telecommunications job growth at 7.5%.
This diversified growth is healthy, Mr. Villamil said. "It's not just construction jobs that we gain and slow down."
Spurring the new jobs, he said, is Latin America's upturn, including a Venezuela buoyed by petrodollars. That, he said, brings cargo, visitors and trade shows from our main trade partners.
He also cited the 4.8% first quarter annualized US economic growth, attractive interest rates and a weak dollar against the Euro, attracting European investors.
"The stars are aligned, at least in the short term," he said. "It's pretty good for South Florida."
But, he said, though our economic foundation is solid, "there are termites in the basement" gnawing away: we're the nation's sixth most congested metropolitan area, insurance costs are soaring, we've become a high-cost place to do business, traffic bottlenecks bedevil the seaport and immigration rules choke our airport.
But for now, he said, "all of South Florida is doing well too, and obviously, we are the biggest one."