Hiring is up in South Florida, and wages are trailing

Miami-Dade fares fairly well in the hiring race, except when it comes to well-paying jobs.

Federal data released Tuesday put Miami-Dade in 39th place for employment growth among counties across the country. But it placed 109th in terms of wage increases.

“That’s disappointing, to put it mildly,’’ said Robert Cruz, the county’s official economist.

Broward, a smaller labor market, fared worse. It ranks 216th in employment growth between the second quarter 2010 and the second quarter of 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Broward finished 153rd on the wage-increase rankings.

Miami-Dade’s divide mirrors the ups and downs of South Florida’s economic recovery, where low-paying tourism jobs led the way for much of 2010 and 2011. High-paying management, finance and professional jobs have lagged.

That may be changing, particularly in Miami-Dade. While tourism stills account for nearly 60 percent of new jobs in Broward, healthcare and professional services combined are creating 54 percent of Miami-Dade’s new jobs.

A higher average wage could reflect employers increasing employees’ hours amid an improving economy, said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith. He doesn’t think companies are offering more pay to attract workers.

“I don’t think it’s an indication that the labor market has gotten tighter,’’ he said. “There is too much unemployment.”

Tuesday’s report puts the average weekly wage for Broward at $837 and $876 for Miami-Dade. Both were up from a year earlier: The average Broward worker saw a 2.6 percent increase, and in Miami-Dade the boost was 3.2 percent.

The federal survey showed employment grew about 2.2 percent in Miami-Dade but was flat in Broward.

Though they failed to break the Top 20 nationally — top honors went to Williamson County in Texas, with a stunning 18 percent increase in wages — Broward and Miami-Dade held their own in the Sunshine State.

Within the top five labor markets, Miami-Dade placed first in wage growth and Broward placed second. Miami-Dade also had the highest average weekly wage of the state.


Source:  Miami Herald