Local govt. hiring not helping Dade’s recovery

Since 2010, government jobs have been hurt more than construction jobs have been.

07/16/2012 5:00 AM

07/17/2012 10:59 AM

Weak hiring by local governments during the last two years has been more of a problem for Miami-Dade than has hiring by any other industry.

Since the summer of 2010, Miami-Dade’s local governments -- including the school board -- have accounted for almost one out of every two jobs lost. The construction industry finished second with about 35 percent of the lost jobs.

The statistics don’t tell the whole story. Construction easily qualifies as the biggest source of the unemployment crisis still plaguing Miami-Dade and the rest of Florida, having lost about 50 percent of its jobs since the boom days of 2005 and 2006. But most construction losses came before the summer of 2010, when overall hiring began to rebound in Miami-Dade. The post-recovery changes are measured using a 12-month average to account for seasonality, so the recent steep losses by construction and finance haven’t yet washed through the final numbers.

And with most sectors adding jobs during the last two years, employers shrinking payrolls can seem to be a bigger problem than they actually are.

Still, the roughly 5,000 jobs lost since June 2010 by local governments captures an ongoing theme to this recovery: it would be going much better if tax-funded payrolls were stronger.

Broward and Miami-Dade receive their June employment reports on Friday. That will offer the latest clue as to whether the ongoing decline in public payrolls will continue into the second half of 2012.

The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine tracks 60 local indicators in an effort to chart South Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession. By comparing current conditions to where they were before the downturn, the ETM attempts to measure how far back the recession set the economy. The answer so far: June 2003. Visit ETM headquarters at miamiherald.com/economic-time-machine for the latest updates.

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