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May 2007
Even though South Florida unemployment is still low new data released Friday shows the region has added more jobs than any other part of the state during the month of April. But if some things do not change soon such as the lack of affordable housing, high property taxes and costly insurance are resolved, unemployment could start to rise.

Professional services, education, hospitality and healthcare picking up the slack for what is lacking in the construction and manufacturing business. Compared to a year ago the number of government jobs has picked up.

For Miami-Dade County, the April unemployment rate was 3.2 percent, an improvement from A year ago Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate was 3.6 percent. In April the unemployment rate was 3.2 percent which was slightly higher compared to March, when only 3.1 percent people were unemployed.

Broward's unemployment has been rather consistent with its unemployment rate at 2.9 percent in April which was the same as March and just about equal to April 2006 when 3 percent of the county's labor force was out of work.

On Friday the South Florida employment figures released by the state's Agency for Workforce Innovation, were better than both the statewide and national numbers. Across Florida’s unemployment rate of 3.4 percent has been better than the national average of 4.5 percent for the month.

South Florida was number one in the state in April with an employment gain of 41,200 jobs since last year. Orlando was second with 29,500 jobs and Tampa-St. Petersburg was third with 19,600 jobs.

''The international sector is the source of the strength in South Florida,'' said Antonio Villamil, CEO of Washington Economics Group in Coral Gables. He based this on international trade and tourism. He also said the Euro's strength over the dollar continues to spur Europeans to buy goods and real estate property in South Florida. A big downfall is an ongoing reduction in the construction industry. The sector lost 6,600 jobs, or 1 percent, from April 2006 to April 2007.

''The numbers still look good but we are at the peak of the business cycle, we could continue up or we may slowdown further,'' said Villamil. ``It all depends on whether we can avoid a U.S. recession and whether we solve our problems with property taxes and insurance.''
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