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Written by on July 23, 2009

FYI

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   LOCAL INDICATORS: While the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s economic development arm, attributed June’s unemployment-rate jump to 11.5% to the entry of college graduates into the workplace, an economic study by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness predicts it could take until 2020 for that rate to return to 5%. In fact, the institute projects the same lengthy employment rebound for the entire state. On a brighter note, the report predicted professional business services and health care — the South Florida region’s fast growing sectors — should see yearly growth rates of 2.9% and 1.9%, respectively.

   A LOOK AHEAD: The economic update also predicted personal income in South Florida to grow 2.4% annually over the next 30 years while unemployment will decline at 0.2% annually during the same period. The report said tourism, the area’s key economic engine, seems to be poised for a recovery. "The bleeding of the Miami tourism industry may finally be slowing as room rates in Miami-Dade County fell 12% in April, the smallest rate decline since January of last year." And as the country waits for the housing market to settle, lease-to-own deals are helping to fill Miami’s dearth of empty condominiums while credit remains tight. "South Florida developers are increasingly using lease-to-own programs that credit 12 months of rent toward a down payment," the report said. But that program is "very market specific and can only be expected to last another year or two."

   EVENTS ENERGIZE: Greater Miami enjoyed an increase in hotel occupancy during the week of July 4. Room occupancy rose 6.2% from the same week last year with 66.9% of Miami’s rooms filled, according to data from Smith Travel Research. The boost could be attributed in part to three events: the 2009 USA Volleyball Girls Junior Olympics, VII Pan American Women’s Volleyball Cup Championship and the American Black Film Festival, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

   OPEN CONTAINERS: Public consumption of alcohol will now be permitted on special occasions in Miami, city commissioners decided 4-0, with Michelle Spence-Jones absent. Special events permits would be required, said Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. The exception was proposed to facilitate the "Summer Rendezvous – Fall in Love with the Grove Again" event series, which is to close off auto traffic along a block of Commodore Plaza in Coconut Grove on Saturdays through this month, Mr. Sarnoff said.

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