The "Economic Time Machine": In South Florida, it's
One way to think about national and regional economic
conditions is to compare the present with the past. When a
recession hits, in other words, it's as if the economic clock
starts to run backwards: instead of getting richer from year to
year, economies get poorer.
In a recent article, The Economist of London
developed this notion into a detailed analysis of the global
"). Writes The Economist
: "Now almost
five years old, the economic crisis rumbles on. In order to
assess how much economic progress it has undone, The
has constructed a measure of lost time for
hard-hit countries. It shows that Greece's economic clock has
been turned back furthest: it has been rewound by over 12
years. Elsewhere in the euro area, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and
Spain have lost seven years or more. Britain, the first country
forced to rescue a credit-crunched bank, has lost eight years.
America, where the trouble started, has lost ten."
If the trouble indeed started in the U.S., as The
claims, you could perhaps argue that within the
U.S., the trouble started in south Florida. And whether that's
true or not, the Miami Herald
is thinking along the same
lines as The Economist
about tracking the trouble: the
paper has set up a section called
Economic Time Machine
" that tracks current economic
indicators against historical benchmarks. Right now, says the
, we're back in 2002.
More specifically, says the Herald
In economic terms, it's June 2002 in South Florida
Are things getting better? Well, kinda sorta. The recovery
we keep hoping for, the Herald
reports, is more promise
than production at this point
Four years later, South Florida's worst recession only hints at
a real recovery
," by Douglas Hanks). Jobs are slow to
rebound, the Herald writes
: "Nearly four years after
hiring first started to contract in Miami-Dade County,
employment only recently hit 1.8 percent growth in Miami-Dade.
For all of South Florida, the pace is slower
€” jobs are growing at about 1.4
percent a month, well behind the average of 3.6 percent a month
outside of recessions."
The big trouble is construction, says the Herald
"The biggest source of the hiring lag: a construction industry
down nearly 80,000 jobs from peak hiring levels. That amounts
to almost 40 percent of the jobs South Florida would need to
erase employment losses from the recession." But if
construction is at the root of the problem, the financial
ripple effects are prolonging the hangover: "The housing
depression prompted a global banking crisis that lingers.
Miami-Dade now loses more jobs in finance each month than from
construction. Those continued losses from the mortgage industry
and insurance carriers are diluting the gains made by record
hiring in the healthcare and hospitality industry."
So when will we get back to the future? The Herald
writes, "Economists think 2012 will finally bring a decent
recovery." Meanwhile €¦ throw some
more banana peels into Mr. Fusion.