ECONOMIC TIME MACHINE

Healthcare jobs dropping in Miami-Dade for first time since ‘00

 

dhanks@MiamiHerald.com

The end of 2012 also brought the conclusion of a remarkable hiring streak in Miami-Dade County. The milestone does not bode well for a jobs recovery in 2013.

The employment category dominated by healthcare lost 400 jobs in November and 700 jobs in December compared to the prior 12 months. Both drops were relatively minor, but marked the first time the healthcare sector saw an employment decline in Miami-Dade since June 2000. No other sector could boast of a stretch like that, and the start of 2013 will show whether the drop in healthcare jobs reported last month was a blip or something more lasting.

The end of the 147 months of growing healthcare jobs in Miami-Dade comes amid turmoil in that industry locally and across the country. Two of the largest healthcare providers in Miami-Dade, Jackson Memorial and the University of Miami medical school, last year announced nearly 2,000 jobs cuts. Both entities have close ties — UM doctors staff Jackson. If considered a single source of layoffs, the total at the time would have been one of the biggest in Florida since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program.

Along with cuts came moves to keep hiring down and reduce payroll, so the impact on attrition is likely to last for years. And that doesn’t count the contractors who suffer as both institutions trim costs.

Meanwhile, healthcare dollars are under pressure nationwide as the new healthcare law takes effect and insurers look for ways to cut reimbursements. Government reimbursements are under pressure, too.

In Miami-Dade, the hospital sub-sector has been losing jobs since August and in December it shed 1,700 jobs. That’s still nothing to the county’s main sources of lost jobs: in December, the construction industry shed 2,600 positions and local government shed 4,700, according to federal statistics. But it’s a big turnaround from the end of 2011, when hospitals were adding about 2,500 jobs a month.

In Broward, healthcare continues to be a positive for jobs In December, the sector added 1,400 jobs.

The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine blog seeks to put South Florida’s recovery into historical perspective. We try to take the long view on economic stats. For analysis of the latest economic news, visit miamiherald.com/economic-time-machine and look for our weekly chart on Page 3 of Business Monday.

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