FYI Miami: August 29, 2013
ELECTRIC BARGAIN: Electricity costs in the Miami area, which have been at least 14% below the national average for the past four years, fell to 16.1% below the national average for electricity costs in July, according to Janet Rankin, regional commissioner for the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Miami households paid an average of 11.5 cents per kilowatt hour in July, while the national average was 13.7 cents. NATURAL GAS GAP: While Miami pays far less than the national average for electricity, it pays far more than average for natural gas. In July we paid an average of $1.519 per therm, up from $1.404 per therm a year earlier and 48.2% more than the national average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. In four of the past five years, the bureau says, we’ve paid more than 40% above the national average for natural gas. GAS PRICES FADE: Miamians are paying 17.6 cents a gallon less for gasoline than they were paying a year ago at this time, with the average price at $3.58 per gallon in 1,690 area service stations, according to tracking website GasBuddy.com. The local price is a penny above the national average of $3.57 cents, the service said, but the price here is falling faster than the nation as a whole, with the national decline for the past year at 13 cents. “Most states are seeing their average below last year,” said the service’s senior analyst Patrick DeHaan, “and as summer slowly fades, gasoline prices may as well in many communities.”
GAS CUT LIKE TAX CUT: Thanks to falling gasoline prices, which act just like a tax cut, household purchasing power in South Florida is getting a lift, and with inflation not a factor now, employment growth for the region and personal income growth are both expected to outpace the nation next year, according to a forecast by the PNC Financial Services Group. Southeast Florida’s employment is forecast by the group to grow 1.7% in 2014, while the nation as a whole is expected to grow slightly more slowly at 1.5%. PNC also forecasts that personal income growth, expected to be 4.9% in Southeast Florida, will outpace a growth forecast to be 4% nationally. CONSTRUCTION BOUNCE: Contracts for future construction in Miami-Dade and Broward counties jumped markedly in July, with nonresidential contracts up 23% and residential contracts up 52%, McGraw Hill Construction reported Tuesday. For the year to date, nonresidential future contracts were up 2% over the same period in 2012 and residential contracts were up 46%.