South Florida’s hiring rebound nears a stall


Weak job growth and a wobbly unemployment rate left South Florida’s employment picture looking worse after a slow summer.

South Florida’s employment rebound continues to sputter forward.

Early results from the region’s end-of-summer report card on hiring showed little progress, and some back steps. August brought continued job growth in Broward and Miami-Dade, but at a much slower pace than at the start of 2012. And the best measure of local unemployment, Miami-Dade’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate, dropped for discouraging reasons: fewer people in the labor force, rather than more people employed.

Statewide, the picture was similarly blah. Florida’s unemployment rate remained stalled at 8.8 percent, though the extra 23,200 payroll positions added since July was the second largest in the country.

The so-so results mirrored a national hiring report for August released two weeks ago, which showed sluggishness in a labor market that began the year at a much more bullish pace.

Miami-Dade’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 9.2 percent in August, down from 9.5 percent in July, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was despite a drop of 5,000 people who describe themselves as employed. The labor force itself dropped by twice that amount, bringing the unemployment rate down despite a drop in employment.

Broward will receive a seasonally adjusted rate later in the month, but the raw rate dropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.

A separate survey of businesses tracks payroll growth, and it showed a wobbly month in South Florida for hiring.

Broward added just 1,700 payroll jobs since August 2011, compared to between 4,500 and 6,500 jobs per month at the start of 2012. In Miami-Dade, the 5,800 new jobs marked the second-worst month of job creation in nearly two years. The worst: July 2012.

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