Miami-Dade County hospitality jobs soar, hit all-time high
By Ashley D. Torres
Miami-Dade County leisure and hospitality jobs have been climbing for nine months to equal an all-time high, fueled by record-breaking tourism and new hotel openings.
The most recent total, 108,400 jobs in February, matched the prior record set in March 2008, according to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks jobs by industry.
The February total added 3,200 jobs in a year, a 2.9% jobs gain in the industry. That was the largest percentage gain of any economic sector, though the far bigger trade, transportation and utilities category added 3,400 jobs in the period, according to the federal agency.
With an improved economy, consumers have disposable income to spend on travel, which contributed to record-breaking tourism in 2010 that supported and created additional hospitality jobs.
In 2010, Greater Miami overnight visitors climbed 5.6% year over year to a record-breaking 12.6 million, and for every 85 Miami-Dade visitors one local leisure and hospitality job is sustained, said William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
New Miami International Airport airlines routes, including 30 added American Airlines flights in 2010, have also helped boost Miami-Dade visitor numbers.
The improving economy has also meant more advanced bookings, said Matthias Kammerer, Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa's general manager, which allows hotels to predict future needs and hire in those areas.
"With the increase of hotel occupancy [versus] last year," said Wendy Kallergis, the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association's president and CEO, via email, "many hotels are not necessarily adding positions, but filling positions that were eliminated from 2008-2010."
Hotel occupancy in 2010 climbed 7.7% year over year to a 70.3% average compared to 2009's 65.3%, according to Smith Travel Research's Trend Report. Average daily rate also rose in 2010 to $143.80 over 2009's $140.07, a 2.7% rise.
New hotel properties, such as the JW Marriott Marquis, Hotel Beaux Arts, Soho Beach House and Hotel Urbano, Ms. Kallergis said, as well as completed hotel renovations also contributed over 1,000 jobs in 2010.
Canyon Ranch has seen new hires at all levels, Mr. Kammerer said, from upper management to line staff members.
The predominant positions being filled in Miami-Dade's hospitality industry, Ms. Kallergis said, are in catering, food and beverage, marketing and sales, with hires being permanent.
The seasonality of employment opportunities in the industry, Mr. Talbert said, is going away as the traditionally slow summer season has picked up in recent years.
A record-breaking 2.9 million overnight visitors experienced the beauty of South Florida in summer 2010.
With one in five households deriving their livelihood from tourism, the goal, Mr. Talbert added, is to maintain year-round tourism in Miami-Dade and continue creating and sustaining jobs.
Leisure and hospitality job hires are expected to stabilize this summer, Ms. Kallergis said, with the industry hoping for more hiring at the end of 2011 and into 2012.
Miami's tourism revenue and occupancy levels soared this winter. Read the
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