The Economic Time Machine

Unemployment claims in Miami-Dade hint at a better trend

A leading indicator of South Florida’s hiring market has reverted back to a more encouraging trend.

In April, Miami-Dade saw its first back-to-back yearly decline in initial unemployment claims since September. In October they first started climbing again after nearly three years of declines. After the autumn reversal in the claims numbers came disturbing employment news out of Miami-Dade: January saw the first increase in the county’s unemployment rate since October 2010, and the March report put unemployment at 9.9 percent.

The April employment report is due Friday, and the numbers will show whether Miami-Dade follows the national trend of an improving hiring outlook after a rough start to 2013. That makes the good news on first-time unemployment claims an interesting bit of data in advance of the closely watched jobs report on Friday. In April, first-time claims in Miami-Dade saw a 4 percent drop after a 10 percent drop in March. In Broward, claims were down 13 percent after an 11 percent drop in March. (Broward’s unemployment rate continued to drop in early 2013, down to below 6 percent, so the decline in first-time claims makes sense.)

In all, about 13,800 people in both counties filed for their first unemployment benefits last month. That’s the best April tally since 2007, and close to the 15,000 claims filed in April 2008.