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Five years after Great Recession, a sense of non-recovery recovery lingers

Five years ago this month, the Great Recession began. Which leads to this question: How much longer until South Florida can erase the damage?

Officially, the recession ended in June 2009. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the national economy began contracting in December 2007 and did not grow again for 19 months. Using taxable sales figures, it’s probably safe to say South Florida experienced a longer downturn. Overall spending contracted for the first time in South Florida in March 2007 and didn’t post a year-over-year gain until February 2010.

“Miami was at the forefront of the housing boom and bust,’’ said Karl Kuykendall, an economist who follows South Florida for IHS Global Insight. “It’s no surprise Miami was early into the recession and somewhat late coming out.”

But whatever the actual duration of the downturn, it doesn’t take much math to realize the economy still feels shaky. South Florida lost its first net job in more than two years in October, when a tiny decline of 300 payroll slots interrupted 26 months of consistent expansion. The upcoming November report out Friday will show whether the losing streak continues.

And while unemployment is off near-record highs set in April 2010, more than 180,000 South Floridians were listed as officially out of work in the last count. That’s almost 90 percent more than the 98,000 people listed as out of work in the first month of the recession.

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