MIAMI ( – Job seekers wishing employers would add more jobs in the month of May had their hopes dashed. Employers across the country added just 54,000 jobs in May, the fewest jobs added in eight months.

For South Florida, especially Miami-Dade County, the stagnant hiring picture in May was not what job seekers were hoping to see.

Overall, the national unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent. But investors and economists were trying to determine if the May numbers were an anomaly or were signs of a chronic problem.

The deepest job cuts in May were in local governments, which cut 28,000 jobs, of those, 18,000 were in education. But this wasn’t unexpected; cities and counties have cut jobs for 22 straight months and have shed 446,000 since September 2008.

Economists pointed to higher gas prices sapping consumer cash as one of the reasons the job market is slowing. Consumer spending drives several elements of the U.S. economy, and as gas prices rise, and wages don’t keep up with inflation, the overall economy remains sluggish.

Still, there are some industries that are managing to keep hiring while the economy sputters. Health care and mining industries are two of the areas that continue to hire despite sluggish consumer spending.

For South Floridians, the tourism industry continues to show solid gains as foreign tourism continues to boom as the dollar remains weak around the world.

But, as long as the housing market remains depressed, the construction industry, which fuels South Florida, will remain dormant and keep thousands of workers on the unemployment line.


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