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Good unemployment report masks bad news: Miami Dade's recovery stalls


Unemployment ticked down in Miami-Dade last month but for the wrong reasons. Slow job growth continued in May, and a declining number of job seekers managed to mask the impact of fewer people working, as a recovery that once seemed to be gaining steam continues to hover at something closer to a stall.

Friday’s report by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity offers only a statistical window into the state’s largest economy, but it seemed to lack the kind of compelling hiring turnaround that many had expected for Miami-Dade in 2013.

The numbers look familiar: lost government jobs continue to be the biggest drag on the employment rebound, while the construction industry remains flat on the hiring front. Growing sectors were retail, hospitality and wholesale trade.

Job growth in Miami-Dade hit 6,000 for May, less than half of the more robust pace set at the end of 2012 as increased tourism spending, strong exports and a rebounding housing industry seemed ready to write a new chapter in a recovery that officially began at the end of the recession in the summer of 2009.

So far, the 2013 numbers haven’t been much to cheer about in Miami-Dade. Unemployment hit 9.3 percent in May, a sharp drop from the 9.7 percent record in April. But the numbers behind the decline were discouraging: the labor force dropped by 8,000 people, and the number of people describing themselves as employed also declined by 3,000.

That combination can lead to a drop in the unemployment rate, which essentially measures the people looking for work in relation to the people working. Read more here.