Population Growth Outpaces New Jobs Keeping Unemployment High
By Jonathon Gutierrez
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Miami-Dade unemployment dropped only slightly during the last reporting period despite a large increase in the number of new jobs in the county.
The local rate remains well above state and national averages, statistics from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation show. Miami’s unemployment rate for July was 6%, down from 6.3% in June. Florida averaged 4.3 % in the month. July’s national rate was 4.7%.
The unemployment picture is hurt, not by a lack of jobs, but by the growing pool of people, said Frank Nero, president & CEO of the Beacon Council the county’s economic development agency.
"There are 24,000 new jobs. That’s one of the highest numbers of new jobs ever. But there are over 34,000 new people entering the market," Mr. Nero said. "People are continuing to come here in droves for jobs. The problem continues to be that there’s an increase in our labor force but no growth in our job market."
Miami’s civilian labor force has grown from 1.06 million in July of 2000 to 1.09 million this July. Total employment has grown as well, but hasn’t kept pace with the labor force, growing from 1.06 million to 1.03 million in the same period.
"Miami has more jobs but it’s not growing in pace with the labor force," said Geoffrey Coppin, adviser with the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
Mr. Coppin said while Miami has a higher rate than other Florida counties, the increase in unemployment is being seen across the state due to population growth.
"The job increase isn’t something that’s unusual," he said. "Statewide, the rates are increasing as well. The same thing is happening in almost all the counties and MSAs," or municipal statistical areas.
Mr. Coppin cited state population growth from 12.9 million in 1990 to 15.9 million in 2000.
"It’s not that something unusual is happening in Miami."