As unemployment in Miami-Dade fell slightly in May to 11.3% from 11.8% in April at the peak of the virus-induced shutdown, sunshine bathed one industry: construction jobs hit an all-time high here.

Construction rose to 54,800 jobs in the county in May, the most for any month in US Bureau of Labor Statistics records, up 3,800 from April and 1,600 more workers than a year earlier.

That gain in Miami-Dade construction jobs came as the value of construction starts in South Florida overall was plunging, falling 25% in May from the level of May 2019, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, which tracks new construction. The value of nonresidential starts fell 35%, from $415.7 million to $269.8 million, and the value of residential starts fell 13%, from $749.4 million to $558.8 million.

Construction was the sole category where jobs rose year to year in May in Miami-Dade amidst overall double-digit unemployment, though financial jobs were down just two-tenths of a percent, the small information sector was down less five-tenths of a percent and the government sector was down a relatively small 1%.

The largest loss was in leisure and hospitality, which has felt the brunt of the county’s virus-induced job losses. The sector’s jobs were down 37.3% from May 2019, a relative improvement on 45.4% in April, as employment rose from 80,300 persons to 91,800. But as recently as March, as the virus closings began, the sector paid 142,700 workers here.

The second hardest-hit sector in May was manufacturing, where jobs here fell 14.4% over a year, from 42,400 to 36,300. The cluster labeled “other services” was down 12.2%.

Jobs in both professional and business services and the areas of trade, transportation and utilities were off 8.7% year over year, Education and health services had 7.2% fewer jobs, though it added back 2,400 from April to May.

Source: Miami Today News