Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

sunshine

Negative news on Miami. What do you think?

Recommended Posts

Forbes.com have this negative news on Miami. What do you think about it?

__________________________________________________________________

Miami Vise

Luisa Kroll, 05.24.04

Squeezed Between Ultrarich And Wretchedly Poor, The County Cant Seem To Find Its Business Footing.

With its pristine beaches and glamorous night spots, Miami has long been a haven for escapees, from political refugees to college kids fleeing winter. Folks and businesses are still fleeing--but often it's away from Miami-Dade County. In the past five years a net 151,000 people, many of them middle-class residents, have left the area to go to other parts of the U.S.; 238,000 people have arrived from abroad. During the same period job growth has limped along at an average 0.6% annually. Based on 2002 census data on large cities, Miami had the highest poverty rate, 31%; for all of Miami-Dade it's 18%, still well above the state and national levels. Personal income is also a sagging indicator. The region has the third-highest crime rate of any metro area in our Best Places for Business and Careers survey.

For these reasons, coupled with rising business costs, Miami-Dade gets our booby prize this year. The metro area ranks 139 out of 150 on our list of Best Places, down nine notches from last year. Hard to envision, but South Beach is on a par with such locales as Detroit and Toledo.

Look closer and you'll find a tale of two counties. Strong ties to Latin America bring in diverse cultural and economic crosscurrents that pose challenges. Those immigrants account for a large majority of the area's foreign-born population, now 51.4% of the county. And they exacerbate an already vast divide between rich and poor. Driven by affluent out-of-towners, housing prices, for example, are up 52% over the last three years, far outstripping income growth. At the same time Miami's lousy public school system and relative paucity of college grads help create a low-wage, low-tech economic base. That makes it tough to attract large and high-tech corporations.

Many multinationals have set up Latin American headquarters in the county--Cisco, IBM and Oracle among them. But most are small operations, with 250 jobs or fewer. In March, Kraft Foods announced plans to move Latin American headquarters, with 130 positions, from Rye Brook, N.Y. to Coral Gables, another Miami-Dade city. Such outposts are often expendable: BroadVision set up an office in Miami in 1999 but closed it when the Latin American market and overall economy cooled.

No surprise that tourism was hard hit by Sept. 11. Miami-Dade hotel occupancy and room rates have only recently rebounded to 2001 levels. Meantime, American Airlines, one of the county's biggest private employers, has laid off dozens of Miami-area workers in recent years and avoided Chapter 11 by winning wage and benefit concessions.

Last year Commodore Aviation packed up after 20 years at Miami International Airport to escape rising rents and landing fees as well as a dearth of high-skilled workers. It relocated its aircraft maintenance repair to Rome, N.Y. (average annual snowfall: 153 inches). Miami is also feeling heat from neighboring Broward and Palm Beach counties. The rivalry peaked a couple of years ago, when Broward reportedly poached a Carnival Cruise call center and a Delta Air Lines reservations group. Last month appliance maker Applica announced it was moving 300 jobs north to Broward. Miami-Dade wasn't even in the running for a $500 million biomedical center for the Scripps Research Institute, which elected to go into Palm Beach County.

There are bright spots. In February Standard & Poor's bumped up Miami's bond rating three notches to A+. Crime is easing; construction is booming. The region is becoming an even more vibrant cultural center. Host to the Latin Grammys last year, Miami also will be home to the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, the first time in its 20-year history the show won't air from New York or Los Angeles. A $350 million performing arts center designed by architect Cesar Pelli is slated to open in 2006.

What about new jobs? Its biggest hope seems to hang on a vast, U.N.-like trade association. Miami is one of 11 cities in the U.S. and Latin America competing to become the permanent Secretariat of the Free Trade of the Americas. Says Claudia Del Toro, managing director of Invest in Miami: "This is a contest Miami can't afford to lose."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites



  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.