South Florida Construction Unemployment
With 33,000 net new jobs added to the industry in April, construction unemployment at a record low and other positive signs across the broader economy, a downturn is at bay for at least another year.
The Miami area’s unemployment rate hit 3.0 percent in October 2019 — a new record low and an indication that the region’s economy continues to thrive. The new unemployment milestone comes in below the national 3.6% unemployment rate and a statewide 3.2% rate. Meanwhile, the number of workers in the region, which includes Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, is also touching record highs, with 3.17 million jobholders.
BLS data from October, the most recent month for which data is available, show job gains in the region have been strongest in healthcare and education, a combined sector that grew by 4.6% between 2018 and 2019. It was followed by professional and business services, at 3.9%, and construction at 3.6%. The three industries combined for a total of nearly 41,000 jobs year over year. South Florida’s 2% overall employment growth over the period bested Atlanta’s 1.9% and the national average of 1.4%.
2020 will be a good year for South Florida since unemployment will continue to go down. The construction industry will have a higher demand for workers than last year. Construction workers, both salaried and skilled, are expected to be in strong demand in 2020. Florida contractors said they anticipate the acute shortage of construction workers in recent years to continue this year. This is because they have a lot of new projects coming up. Nearly 80 percent of construction firms surveyed, both in Florida and nationally, said they expect ongoing difficulty in hiring enough workers for construction projects, including highways, transportation centers, schools, public buildings, retail developments, and hotels.
That’s despite 52 percent of Florida contractors and 59 percent nationwide reporting they have been increasing pay and incentives to attract workers.