• Downsizing and cost-cutting bring opportunity.
Consulting services emerged from the recession much stronger than when it began — up 4 percent statewide. In Miami-Dade, the consulting industry added about 2,700 new jobs between 2007 and 2012, with an average yearly wage of $74,000. The increase comes at least in part from businesses shedding full-time workers and replacing them with contract consultants, while downsizing also has more people marketing themselves as consultants. “A lot of people who are long-term unemployed will set up consulting businesses,” said Jack Temple, policy analyst of the National Employment Law Center.
• Restaurant jobs lead the recovery.
When it comes to new jobs, no single sector in Miami-Dade can compete with restaurants, which accounted for almost one out every five new payroll positions created between 2007 and 2012. With a 17 percent share of new jobs, Miami-Dade restaurants led a state trend of growth in jobs at dining establishments. In Florida, restaurants accounted for 14 percent of all new jobs created since 2007. The average restaurant worker earned $20,000 in Miami-Dade and $17,600 in Broward, where restaurants made up 11 percent of all new jobs.
• South Florida’s colleges and universities weathered the recession
Despite cutbacks at state-funded schools, including Miami Dade College, higher education in the region emerged from the downturn as a strong job creator. Overall, the sector was up about 3,700 jobs in South Florida, with a pay range between $50,000 and $60,000.
• Professional services are faring better in the middle of the state
Restaurants may top the list of new jobs statewide and in South Florida, but in Tampa it’s consulting services ($69,000 per year). Management of companies (average wage: $92,000 a year) finished No. 6 on Tampa’s list. The Orlando area also saw impressive gains in the management sector, which includes corporate headquarters and banking holding companies. That sector is up 3,100 jobs in the Orlando area — a 27 percent increase. South Florida has less to celebrate. While consulting services are growing, the management sector was flat in Miami-Dade and off about 700 jobs in Broward.
• Cutbacks in government spending permeate the job losses. The primary category of local-government employment dropped by about 3,800 positions in Miami-Dade. That’s no surprise in an area where the local public sector has suffered 62 straight months of yearly job losses. But other private-sector hits reflect the pullback in government spending, too. Private companies employed to build bridges, highways and roads saw payrolls drop 30 percent, a loss of almost 7,000 jobs statewide. In Broward, they’re down 1,200 positions.
Miami-Dade shows a different trend: basically flat, with a loss of fewer than 200 jobs. That could be thanks to a pair of major projects underway during the downturn — the Port Tunnel, funded with a mix of state, county and private dollars, and the stimulus-funded interchange between the Dolphin and Palmetto expressways.
• Broward’s legal industry is doing well.
Since 2007, the legal industry — lawyers, paralegals, researchers and office workers combined — posted a gain of 2,000 positions with an average wage of $76,000 a year. Not so in Miami-Dade, where the legal sector was all but flat, gaining just 200 payroll slots. (But the pay is better in Miami-Dade, with the average legal worker taking in $97,000.)