Reports are in that Miami and Orlando are dragging Florida out of recession, but for now only Orlando is performing above its economic weight class.
The Miami Herald reported this week that while Orlando represents just 14 percent of Florida’s 7.2 million-person workforce, it accounts for 46 percent of the Sunshine State’s 44,000 new jobs last month, eighty percent of which came from the tourism industry.
Given the city’s abundance of theme parks, brand new “Medical City” popping up with the opening of the University of Central Florida’s new medical school and strong video game industry, it’s no surprise Orlando outperformed its economic class.
Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner told reporters Thursday during his annual review of Florida’s economic outlook that Orlando is “certainly coming out ahead of the other large metropolitan areas in this recession.’’
Here in South Florida, Miami is doing its part to reverse the economic slide the state has weathered over the last three years as well. In the last 12 months, South Florida added 1,100 jobs in the finance sector alone. “Companies are hiring,’’ said Jaap Donath, vice president of research for the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s economic development agency. “They’re hiring across the board.’’
While Orlando has certainly grown by leaps and bounds, it’s important to keep the numbers in perspective. The South Florida metro area’s $253 billion economy is more than twice the size of Orlando’s, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. The smaller the economy and workforce, the easier it is to show big gains. Additionally, Miami has been sheltered from the brunt of the economic freeze due to its frequent interactions with booming South American consumers.