By Gay Cororaton, MIAMI Chief Economist
Happy Labor Day! In celebration of Labor Day, this piece looks at South Florida’s employment trends. The data point to stronger employment conditions in South Florida than nationally, a critical factor underpinning Southeast Florida’s housing market that has held up better against the challenge of rising mortgage rates. Despite the challenging economic environment, payroll jobs were up by 105,890 as of the end of 2022, with an increase of 5,323 payroll jobs in real estate and rental and leasing.
Download the county reports that go with this report.
Employment is rising faster than nationally
South Florida’s employment is growing more robustly than the national rate. Nationally, total employment of payroll and self-employed workers was just up 1.8% year-over-year in July 2023, but rose at a faster pace in Miami-Dade (2.5%), Broward (3.0%), Palm Beach (2.6%), Martin (3.7%), and St. Lucie (4.2%).
Employment (payroll and self-employed) rose by 83,658 over the 12-month period through July 2023, led by Miam-Dade (33,394), followed by Broward (30,749) and Palm Beach (19,515). Employment rose by 9,076 in Martin County (2,747) and in St. Lucie County (6,329).
With its stronger job creation, the unemployment rate is lower than nationally (3.5%) in Miami-Dade (1.9%), Broward (3.0%), Palm Beach (3.3%), and Martin (3%) , but higher in Martin (3.7%).
- Average weekly wages are rising faster than nationally
Wages also rose faster in the Southeast Florida counties compared to nationally as of 2023 Q1. Nationally, the average weekly wage rose 6.6% from 2022 Q1 through 2023 Q1, but average weekly wages rose at a higher rate in Miami-Dade (9.4%) , Broward (8.2%) and St. Lucie (9.9%) and about the same rate as in Palm Beach County (6.5%). However, when compared to the inflation rate of 9% in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area as of April 2023, only Miami-Dade County and St. Lucie had real wage gains.
On average, weekly wages were higher in Miami-Dade ($1,528) and in Palm Beach ($1,506) but lower in Broward ($1,384) and St. Lucie ($997) than nationally ($1,465). Over a 52-week period, the average weekly wage translates to an annual income $79,500 in Miami-Dade County, $72,000 in Broward, $78,300 in Palm Beach, and $51,800 in St. Lucie County, and $76,200 nationally.
- Top job generators: accommodation/food service, professional/tech services, and health services
The top industries driving payroll employment gains in the five Southeast Florida counties were accommodation and food services (16,017); professional, scientific, and technical services (15,919), and health care and social assistance (16,797). Altogether, these three industries accounted for 45% of the 105,890 payroll jobs created in 2022.
- Real estate and rental and leasing employment rose in 2022 amid declining sales
Amid rising mortgage rates that saw a 20% decline in single-family and condo/townhome sales in the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie in 2022, the number of employed workers at real estate and rental and leasing establishments increased by an aggregate 5,323 to 78,050 as of 2022 Q4: Broward (2,386), Miami-Dade (2,262), Palm Beach (657). Employment declined in St. Lucie (-39) and was not reported for Martin County (due to data suppression for confidentiality reasons). Employment in real estate and rental and leasing establishments made up 3% of the total employment in real estate and rental and leasing establishments. This data excludes proprietors and unincorporated self-employed workers.
On average, workers in the real estate and rental and leasing establishments earned $1,4491 as of 2022 Q4: Miami-Dade ($1,546), Broward $1,331), Palm Beach ($1,709), and St. Lucie ($1,467). The data is suppressed for Martin County due to confidentiality reasons.
Employment drivers: recovery of tourism, migration, and low tax environment
The recovery in accommodation and food services employment has been bolstered by the recovery of domestic and international tourism. As of the first five months of the year, 10.4 million domestic and international passengers arrived at Miami International Airport, up from 10.0 million one year ago.
Miami-Dade continues to attract businesses, benefiting from Florida’s tax laws. Only C-corporations pay a state income tax of 5.5% while small businesses or companies that establish themselves as S-corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships or sole proprietorships don’t pay state income taxes in Florida. Moreover, individuals in Florida are not subject to state income taxes so a business owner in Florida is not taxed on income that passes through from his small business to himself. In contrast, the top marginal corporate income tax rate in New Jersey is 11.5%, 7.25% in New York, 9.5% in Illinois, and 8.8% in California, according to the Tax Foundation research.
South Florida’s rising population is also bolstering the demand for health care and social services. Over the period July 1, 2021 through July 1, 2022, all counties saw population gains due to stronger net international and domestic migration: Miami-Dade (3,416), Broward (11,297), Palm Beach (15,254), Martin (1,757) , and St. Lucie (14, 421).
Retirees continue to flock to South Florida, particularly from the Northeast and Midwest states of New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, according to MIAMI REALTORS® analysis of IRS migration data and driver license exchange data.
Download the county reports that go with this report.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS counts people at their place of residence. The CPS includes payroll and self-employed workers.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) counts workers who earned a wage by the 12th of the month at their place of work. The QCEW counts persons with two jobs twice and excludes self-employed.
 Martin County is not in the list of the 361 largest counties; all county data will be released September 6.
 The change in employment by industry level for payroll workers is calculated from the QCEW data.