Good news as Miami-Dade taxable sales dip leveling off
By Jacquelyn Weiner
Miami-Dade taxable sales have recorded their smallest year-over-year drop in 14 months, 3.4%, pointing to a post-recession leveling off.
It's the slightest dip since August 2008's 2.5%, according to the legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
These most recent numbers, for October, show Miami-Dade's economy continuing to bottom out, said economist Manuel Lasaga, president of StratInfo. However, he said, recovery won't be as dynamic as it was following recessions of the past 20 to 25 years
"This recovery will not have the strength that we've seen in previous economies," he said, "but any recovery is going to be great news."
Consumers "just don't have the capacity to take on significant increases in spending," he said. "People are going to be more cautious in this recovery because of the pain they felt in this recession and the lessons they learned from borrowing too much."
Holiday sales could bring stronger signs of recovery in December or early next year, he said.
Another positive: tourism fell just four-tenths of a percent from October 2008.
"Compared to some of the other tourism areas of the state, Miami did pretty good by holding its own over last year," said Amy Baker, the legislature's chief economist.
Ms. Baker added that the area did better than Fort Lauderdale, hit by a 5.7% tourism drop, and Orlando, which fell 5.9%.
Much of Miami's resilience is tied to its appeal to Central and South American tourists, she said, many of whom haven't felt the recession as deeply.
Ms. Baker also said while taxable sales drops appear to be bottoming out, that doesn't necessarily signal an oncoming full recovery.
"What you're going to see," she said, "particularly in a state as diverse as Florida, is things are going to bounce around a little bit."