Miami jobless rate drops to 6.5 percent

Miami-Dade County added 8,000 jobs, seasonally adjusted, in the month of October.
Miami-Dade County added 8,000 jobs, seasonally adjusted, in the month of October. AP

South Florida’s jobs picture is looking sunnier.

The jobless rate in the Miami area fell to a seasonally adjusted 6.5 percent — the lowest level since July 2008 and far from the grim days of April 2010, when unemployment hit 12.6 percent. That compared with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.6 percent in September and 7.6 percent in October 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Broward’s jobless rate also fell from 5.6 percent to 5 percent in October.

“The October labor market report is a clear affirmation of an improving Miami-Dade labor market,” Robert D. Cruz, Miami-Dade County’s chief economist, said in a statement. The county added 8,000 jobs in October on seasonally adjusted basis, he said.

For the last two months, Miami-Dade payroll jobs clock in at their highest levels ever — above those lost in the recession, according to Jaap Donath, Beacon Council senior vice president of research and strategic planning.

“We continue to grow jobs and we are moving beyond the job losses from the recession,’’ Beacon Council president Larry K. Williams said in a statement. “Construction and manufacturing continue to show the largest growth from last year.”

Densely populated Miami-Dade County posted a 3.5 percent increase in jobs year over year. The county ranks No. 1 among Florida metro areas in the number of jobs created over the past year, with a total of 37,800.

Miami-Dade is adding jobs in various fields, including construction, retail trade, professional and business services, transportation, warehousing and utilities, and leisure and hospitality.

Over the past year, the county gained 4,400 construction jobs, an increase of 12.4 percent, as condo and retail projects sprout around the region.

“The generation of construction jobs is a significant factor in the momentum of our economy,’’ said Manuel Lasaga, president of Strategic Information Consulting and a clinical professor in the finance department at Florida International University.

As of September, Lasaga said, some 30 percent of the 23,000 construction jobs lost in the recession have been recovered. “By year end, maybe 40 to 45 percent of the jobs lost will be recovered. You only need to look at all the cranes.’’

In Broward County, the October jobless rate fell to 5 percent from 5.6 percent in October 2013. Employment in the metro Fort Lauderdale area increased 3.2 percent year over year. Those numbers are not adjusted for seasonality.

Broward gained jobs in October in trade and transportation, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality, among other areas.

Broward ranked No. 3 in job growth behind greater Orlando, adding 24,000 jobs for the year that ended in October. That amounted to a 3.2 percent increase in employment.

Statewide, unemployment inched down 0.1 percentage point in October to a seasonally adjusted 6 percent, the lowest level since June 2008, and 0.7 percentage point from a year earlier.

Florida tallied 578,000 jobless workers out of a labor force of 9,660,000, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said.

Florida added 34,400 jobs in October, a 0.4 percent increase from September, bringing seasonally adjusted nonagricultural employment to 7,857,300. The state added 206,900 jobs from October 2013, an increase of 2.7 percent. While those are moderate gains, they exceeded the national pace of 1.9 percent job growth year over year.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector accounted for the most growth in Florida, adding 50,500 jobs in the past year, the state reported.