By putting local industries in a national context, the statistics highlight some predictable pros and cons about the local economy, along with some surprises.
• Lawyers have plenty of company in South Florida.
Broward and Miami-Dade’s legal industries are larger than the national average, with a location quotient of about 2.25 That means the legal industry accounts for more jobs in South Florida than it does in Orlando (1.8), Atlanta (1.2) and even the New York area (1.8).
Miami’s cadre of lawyers tied to international trade and finance help boost the legal ranks in the region, given the number of mergers, real estate purchases and loans for Latin American companies and individuals that are closed in South Florida.
New York remains a hub for Latin American deals, particularly on large corporate bond transactions. But cheaper legal fees in Miami and short flights to Latin capitals have made Miami a natural for negotiating deals tied to Latin firms, said Francisco Cerezo, head of Foley & Lardner’s Miami office.
Cerezo heads the firm’s Latin American practice, which formally launched last year in the Miami office. It now employs about a dozen people, roughly half of the firm’s Miami staff.
“There’s a migration of lawyers from New York who find Miami a more attractive place to work out of,’’ he said. “It’s just a really natural alternative.”
• High-tech manufacturing fares well in Broward. While South Florida’s manufacturing industry is between 20 and 30 percent of the size it was just five years ago, pockets look promising. In Miami-Dade, the making of medical devices stands out as a manufacturing sector with a location quotient of 1.95, almost double the national average.
Tech powerhouses Motorola and Research in Motion, which makes Blackberry, helped boost the employment share for the manufacturing of communications equipment in Broward to about three times the national average.
“The last three Blackberries were designed here,’’ said David Coddington, head of business development for the county’s economic development agency, the Broward Alliance. “People don’t realize that.”
That sector took a significant hit in recent weeks when Motorola Mobility parent Google dismissed 170 workers from the company’s Plantation office. But other firms continue to thrive. Marware is a Hollywood company that creates covers and cases for tables and cell phones. The company claims the best-selling case for a Kindle not made by Amazon, and has been profiting from the rise of the iPad and iPhone for more than a decade.
“We’ve been in every Apple Store since the very beginning,’’ said marketing director Ronnie Khadaran. “Once the iPod came out, it put us on the map in a really big way.”
• Sea legs can be resume-builders in South Florida.
In Miami-Dade, no industry has a bigger location quotient than does deep-sea passenger transportation — a category that includes cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. That location quotient: 70.
The labor statistics confirm that South Florida’s oceanfront, waterways and sea lanes have created thriving industries throughout the local economy. In Broward, the 500-some workers listed under marinas constitute a sector that’s 200 percent larger than the national average. (That’s compared to 60 percent larger in Miami-Dade.) Boat dealers, responsible for more than 1,000 jobs, play an even more outsized role in the economy — about 500 percent larger than the national average.