When Yanette Rodriguez lost her job two years ago in the compliance department of a medical-supply company in Miami, she took a vacation.
With 17 years experience in compliance and accounting, the mother of two grown daughters figured it wouldn’t be that hard landing a similar position after her former employer downsized. But last week, Rodriguez and her daughters took the 56th, 57th and 58th places in line for the hiring office of a new Wal-Mart in south Miami-Dade.
“My rent is not going to wait until I get a high-paying job,’’ said Rodriguez, 47. “I’m actually looking for any position available.”
Rodriguez’s extended hunt for a paycheck to match her former $40,000-a-year position continues to run into a discouraging trend in South Florida’ recovery. While job growth is up, a majority of the new positions come from low-paying industries.
The 2007-09 recession hit high-wage industries particularly hard in Miami-Dade: they accounted for 40 percent of the lost jobs, compared to 23 percent of the decline from low-wage industries. In Broward, the loss was roughly equal.
But the recovery hasn’t been as broad-based. More than half of the jobs added to the local economy since the recession began in 2007 came from low-paying industries — including restaurants, retail and hotels, according to a Miami Herald review of federal employment data. Fewer than 30 percent came from high-paying industries, with consulting, higher-education and hospitals leading the way. “We never really slowed down the hiring process, even during the recession,’’ said Corey Heller, vice president of human resources for the Baptist hospital system, Miami-Dade’s largest private employer.
Isabel Madrigal, 35, works as a registered nurse in the ICU unit at Baptist’s main Kendall hospital, and said she felt confident enough about her career to urge her nephew to pursue nursing in college.
“He was debating. I pushed,’’ Madrigal said of the 21-year-old, who recently graduated with a nursing degree from Florida International University. “There are infinite possibilities with nursing. There are so many paths you can take.”
With a payroll of about 15,000 people, Baptist was at the center of producing high-wage jobs in Miami-Dade. Hospitals finished fourth in the county’s list of top job producers since the start of the recession in 2007, adding more than 4,200 positions. With an average yearly pay of $55,000, the hospital sector enjoyed stronger job growth than any of the county’s other high-wage industries, according to federal statistics.
Other high-wage industries weren’t so fortunate. Automobile dealers, where the average pay is about $55,000, saw hiring drop 3,200 positions in both Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Architecture and engineering: off 4,800 positions, at an average pay of $68,000. Newspaper and directory publishing, where the pay hovers around $58,000, down 3,200 jobs.
For this story, The Miami Herald analyzed federal employment and wage data from roughly 600 sectors of the local economy, and then did the same with Florida’s other large metropolitan areas and with the overall state economy. In all, we looked at numbers from more than 3,500 hiring sectors from the across the state.