Construction spending still up in South Florida

Stocks slumped after a disappointing report on construction spending Tuesday. But South Florida’s rebound continues, even as hiring continues to shrink.

09/04/2012 12:42 PM

09/04/2012 12:51 PM

Investors weren’t happy with a Tuesday report showing a slight decline in national construction spending between June and July. The .9 percent dip still produced $83 billion in construction spending — more than 9 percent better than in July 2011, according to a Wells Fargo analysis of the new Commerce Department numbers. But the decline helped prompt a morning sell-off on Wall Street.

Such month-to-month scoring isn’t easily available at the local level, given the natural fluctuations in the building cycle. But in South Florida, the latest numbers show the region’s modest rebound in construction spending continued this summer when compared to 2011’s results.

In Broward, all taxable sales increased 5 percent in July compared to 12 months earlier. Construction spending was up 3 percent, extending a wining streak that began in August, according to figures from the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

For Miami-Dade, the construction-spending rebound began in November 2010. In July, construction spending was up 3 percent, compared to a 7 percent overall increase in taxable sales.

Both construction increases were slowdowns from the start of 2012, when construction spending was up 10 percent in Broward and up 6 percent in Miami-Dade.

That hasn’t helped with hiring. South Florida’s construction sector hasn’t grown by even a single job in 61 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In both counties, tourism remains the comeback star. Spending in that category has been up since early 2010 in both counties. While Broward only saw a 4 percent gain in tourism spending in July, Miami-Dade recorded a whopping 12 percent increase — its 15th month of double-digit gains.

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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