The Economic Time Machine

In Miami-Dade, government hiring down since 2008

The last time Miami-Dade governments added jobs to the economy, George W. Bush was president.

The August employment report released Friday extended an historic hiring slump for the local public sector. Local government in Miami-Dade, which includes public schools and municipalities, lost jobs for the 64th straight month in August. About 100,000 people work in the local public sector, and it last saw job growth in April 2008.

Lasting more than five years, the streak is even persistent than the 57-month losing streak the construction industry suffered between November 2007 and July 2012. (Even so, the construction industry suffered worse losses, as you can see from the chart.)

While most of Miami-Dade’s employment sectors have returned to growth, local government continues to shrink payrolls. Since the fall of 2011, no sector has come close to its losses, and in August local government accounted for 53 percent nearly 10,000 jobs lost by declining sectors. While the overall economy added 2,900 jobs in August, the gains would have nearly tripled if local government hadn’t reported a loss of 5,200 positions from the prior year.

The monthly employment reports don’t contain specifics on where the losses are coming from, but Miami-Dade County still faces budget shortfalls from rising costs and languid property-tax revenues. A look at hiring data between 2007 and 2012 showed public schools were the No. 1 source of lost jobs in Miami-Dade, with a decline of 7,000 positions.

The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine seeks to give the long view on the latest financial numbers for South Florida. Visit for analysis of the numbers that drive the local economy. Our ETM index tracks more than 40 local indicators to measure where the economy has “landed” post-bust when compared to earlier economic conditions. The latest reading: July 2004.