ECONOMIC TIME MACHINE

Broward job numbers bad clue for U.S. economy

 

Broward lost jobs in May for the first time in two years. The last time the county saw hiring reverse, the U.S. was heading into a recession.

dhanks@MiamiHerald.com

Let’s hope Broward County won’t be such a good economic barometer this time around.

In December 2007, Broward saw its first yearly drop in employment in four years. That same month, the United States economy officially entered a 17-month recession that ended in June 2009.

Broward payrolls began growing again in October 2010 and haven’t shrunk since — until last month.

Miami-Dade eventually joined Broward in losing jobs during the recession, but the losses held off until the spring of 2008. Thanks to its strong flow of Latin American trade and international tourism, Miami-Dade’s economy isn’t as responsive to national trend as is Broward’s, a favorite of Northeast tourists.

Now we have a similar situation as in 2007: Broward losing jobs, while Miami-Dade enters a pattern of slower growth.

Of course, one month does not a trend make. And the end of spring can be particularly sporadic in terms of hiring for South Florida’s tourism-heavy economy.

Still, Broward’s loss of 1,800 jobs in May could be the start of a very unwelcome shift for South Florida — and the nation.

The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine tracks 60 local indicators in an effort to chart South Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession. By comparing current conditions to where they were before the downturn, the ETM attempts to measure how far back the recession set the economy. The answer so far: September 2002. Visit ETM headquarters at miamiherald.com/economic-time-machine for the latest updates.

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