The Miami Herald

Miami-Dade leading the race back to record hiring

Miami-Dade may beat the rest of Florida out of the post-recession hiring slump.

The latest employment numbers show the Sunshine State’s largest labor market is also the closest to erasing job losses from the last five years.

Miami-Dade payrolls are off about 5 percent from peaks hit in 2007. That’s compared to 9 percent in Florida and 7 percent in Orlando and 8 percent in Tampa, the other two economic powerhouses in the state. Broward trails the pack, down 10 percent from the jobs it had before the downturn.

Miami-Dade still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state: 9.8 percent compared to 7.3 percent in Broward, 8.3 percent in Orlando and 8.6 percent in Tampa. Those are the raw unemployment rates from May.

Remember that unemployment rates measure not only of jobs, but also population. So a growing population, as Miami-Dade is enjoying, can lead to a higher unemployment rate.

In terms of returning to record employment numbers, Miami-Dade appears to be ahead among the large counties. May brought a weak report for Miami-Dade, with just an additional 1,600 jobs from April compared to the start of 2012, when employers were adding as many as 4,000 positions a month. But even with May’s weak increase, Miami-Dade would be back to its pre-downturn peak of about 1.06 million jobs by May 2013 — provided hiring doesn’t falter more.

Of course, these are just raw numbers. Drill down and it’s easy to see many of the new jobs are low-paying hospitality positions, while better-paying industries like finance and construction remain ravaged.

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: June 2003. Visit ETM headquarters at for the latest updates.

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