South Florida adds 14,400 jobs as Miami-Dade unemployment drops in February


Hotels, restaurants and bars added 2,000 positions in Miami-Dade and 1,700 in Broward last month.

FILE--In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, photo, a sign attracts job-seekers during a job fair at the Marriott Hotel in Colonie, N.Y. Hotels, restaurants and bars added 2,000 positions in Miami-Dade and 1,700 in Broward last month.
FILE--In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, photo, a sign attracts job-seekers during a job fair at the Marriott Hotel in Colonie, N.Y. Hotels, restaurants and bars added 2,000 positions in Miami-Dade and 1,700 in Broward last month.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties contributed 14,400 new jobs to the state’s February total of 33,400 added positions, according to government data released Friday.

Job growth helped shrink Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate to 6.7 percent last month, down from a revised rate of 7 percent in January. That’s the lowest unemployment rate in Miami-Dade since July 2008, when the Great Recession was ramping up. Broward’s unemployment rate stayed steady at 5.4 percent in February (the January rate was revised to 5.4 percent from 5.3 percent).

The counties fell on opposite sides of the statewide unemployment rate, which was 6.2 percent in February, unchanged from January’s revised rate and down from 7.9 percent in February 2013, according to the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity. Florida has added about 211,500 jobs since February of last year.

In South Florida, retail trade, transportation and federal government jobs were the only sectors to post net losses last month.

The leisure and hospitality sector led job growth as spring-break season kicked in to high gear in South Florida. Hotels, restaurants and bars added 2,000 positions in Miami-Dade and 1,700 in Broward last month. Healthcare, finance, construction, manufacturing and other industries all posted gains.

State and local governments boosted South Florida staff numbers in February, adding 1,300 jobs in Miami-Dade and 500 in Broward, although federal rolls were cut by 300 total jobs in the two counties. A combined 1,000 jobs went away in February at general retail stores in Miami-Dade and Broward.

At 9.52 million people, the state’s overall labor pool also grew last month. That increase helps explain why jobs went up but the statewide unemployment rate remained flat.

“When a recovery happens, one expectation is that unemployment will go up temporarily,” said Chris McCarty, director of University of Florida’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “The notion is, people who left the work force and for whatever reason stopped looking for a job, they’ll start to look again as they see others getting jobs.”

Monroe County reported the lowest unemployment rate in Florida last month, at 3.8 percent, while Hendry County’s 9.8 percent unemployment rate was the state’s highest.

The U.S. unemployment rate grew to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent in January, putting Florida ahead of the national rate for seven straight months.

“This has been no small accomplishment,” Sean Snaith, a University of Central Florida economist, noted in his Florida Economic Forecast released this month. “Looking forward, Florida will extend its lead over the national economy the next several years as we expect the Florida economy to continue to outpace the nation as a whole.”

Snaith, who leads the college’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, said he thinks the state’s unemployment rate will continue to decline, projecting it to reach 5.4 percent by the end of 2017. Construction jobs will fuel employment growth, he said, with new residential developments expected to show year-over-year gains through the next four years.

Gov. Rick Scott, visiting a metal-manufacturing plant in Port of Tampa on Friday, said February’s job growth in Florida was “the single biggest month for private-sector job creation since I’ve become governor,” according to the Tampa Bay Times. “That’s a great month.”

Statewide, the biggest gains last month came in business and professional services (7,100 jobs), construction (7,000), trade, transportation and utilities (6,000), education and health services (5,300) and leisure and hospitality (3,900).

Analysts stressed that it’s important for Florida to continue to create jobs in business and professional services as well as other well-paying industries.

“The ongoing question we face here in Florida is not just are people getting jobs, but what kind of jobs are they getting?” McCarty said.

He noted that the leisure and hospitality job gains that Miami-Dade and Broward posted last month may reflect low-skill, low-wage positions.

“If you look at the income reports, the jobs we’re creating in Florida are not as good as the jobs we lost in the recession,” McCarty said. “And that’s a problem.”

Follow @EvanBenn on Twitter.

Read more Business stories from the Miami Herald

Jacinto Garrido’s mother died in 2010. Garrido filed a complaint against her doctor.


    State seeks harsher penalty against Miami physician

    Department of Health officials intend to appeal a final order by the state Board of Medicine, which in June voted to revoke a Miami physician’s license — then minutes later reversed its ruling and reduced the penalty.

Aeromexico will add a fourth weekly flight between Miami and Merida starting Nov. 8

    Aeromexico adds fourth weekly Miami-Merida flight

    Aeromexico announced this week that it will add a fourth weekly flight between Miami and Merida, the capital of the state of Yucatan, this fall.

  • Memorial Regional Hospital’s heart program accredited

    Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood recently earned certification from The Joint Commission, the nation’s largest healthcare accrediting group, for a cardiac therapy program designed to treat patients with end-stage heart failure who are not eligible for a transplant — making Memorial the first hospital in Broward County to receive the designation.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category