Tech jobs lose ground nationally but rise in Miami
By Rachel Tannenbaum
Changes in labor force show the share of workers in tech fields falling throughout the nation, but Miami-Dade economists say the county's tech fields continue to grow.
While there's no universal definition of high-tech jobs or occupations or even high-tech industries, said Robert D. Cruz, Miami-Dade's chief economist, occupations that use state-of-the-art technology or develop new technologies can be found in many industries, from aerospace to agriculture.
"High-tech jobs for the most part seem to be associated with science, [information] technology, engineering and mathematics — STEM jobs," Dr. Cruz said.
Looking at Miami-Dade from just before the recession (2007) through the beginning of the recovery (2010), the number of county residents working in computer or mathematical occupations stayed essentially unchanged at about 13,800, according to the US Census Bureau's 2010 and 2007 American Community Surveys.
In terms of the medical tech field, Manuel Lasaga, president of StratInfo and visiting clinical professor at Florida International University, said South Florida has a fair number of medical and biotech institutes like the Miller Medical School at the University of Miami and the College of Medicine at Florida International University that offer exceptionally high opportunity in tech fields.
Dr. Cruz said that the number of working healthcare practitioners, diagnosticians and healthcare technicians in the county also remained unchanged during the recession at 49,000, "if we include these as high-tech occupations."
According to the census bureau, Miami-Dade experienced a large increase in employment of life and physical scientists, from approximately 700 in 2007 to 1,800 in 2010.
"FIU's medical school will introduce the school into the future and it will become more developed," Dr. Lasaga.
As for tech fields on a global scale, Dr. Lasaga said the occupation range is very competitive.
"Other countries are very aggressive," he said.
In terms of competition in Florida, competitive tech fields can be found in Orlando and Tampa, which Dr. Lasaga said goes with simulations with the Disney parks and other theme parks. Another high-tech area in Florida is Cape Canaveral, which he noted has long been an aerospace anchor.
"These are a base to create high-tech incubators," Dr. Lasaga said.
Although Dr. Lasaga said the county may have lost some growth during the recession and as a result of global competition, the census bureau said that workers in high-tech occupations in the county, in the aggregate, fared better than other occupations during the recession,
"Miami is more known for it's biomedical, IT and for medical," Dr. Lasaga said, "and it is able to attract research to set off leadership technology."
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