ECONOMY

First-time jobless claims on the way back up in Miami-Dade

 

Jobless claims are back on the rise in Miami-Dade County, and that could be a bad sign for an upcoming jobs report.

The monthly trends of first-time unemployment claims and the unemployment rate don’t always match-up, so it’s too early to read much into the latest numbers from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. But with Miami-Dade still smarting from a rough jobs report from December, the ongoing trend on first-time claims offers no cause for optimism for the January employment numbers being released Monday.

First-time claims rose for the fifth straight month in February, with about 8,700 Miami-Dade residents filing for their initial unemployment benefits. That was up almost 6 percent from the total in February 2012, and brought a trailing 12-month average of the claims to its highest level since May 2012.

In Broward, the trend isn’t so glum. First-time claims hit 5,400 in February, down 8 percent from a year earlier. The 12-month trend is the lowest since August 2008.

On Monday, state analysts are scheduled to release the January employment report for Florida’s counties. While 2012 ended with Broward adding jobs, Miami-Dade saw its first back-to-back employment drop since the summer of 2010.

DOUGLAS HANKS

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