Attract new investment and create high-paying quality jobs

"My top priority is job creation. My plan is to attract new investment and create high-paying, quality jobs.


Subjects: County government, Economy, Jobs


More jobs promised in Miami-Dade

Updated: Thursday, October 24th, 2013 | By Amy Sherman

During his 2012 re-election campaign, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez promised to "attract new investment and create high-paying, quality jobs."

But Gimenez was careful about that promise: he didn't attach a dollar figure or number of jobs to his promise. Gimenez's spokeswoman told us that the mayor specifically wanted to attract jobs in information technology, engineering and life sciences.

Gimenez's promise overlaps with the Beacon Council's "One Community One Goal" initiative to create 75,000 new jobs by 2017 with a focus on targeted industries, including IT and life sciences. When we wrote about this promise in June, the Beacon Council sent us a list of seven companies that reached deals that included 553 jobs in Miami-Dade County over three years -- which led us to give Gimenez an "In the Works" for his progress in June 2013.

We wanted to check in on his progress four months later.

The Beacon Council sent us a new list of additional IT, engineering and life science companies that reached agreements by Oct. 1 to provide jobs in Miami-Dade County over the next three years:

• Cable and Wireless Communications, from the UK, global telecom firm: 263 new jobs

• DBK Concepts, from Miami-Dade, service provider for data collection technology: 70 new jobs

• International Software Company (ISC, Inc.), from France, IT company: 5 new jobs

• Skyscanner, from Scotland, IT travel/flight search engine: 50 new jobs

• Vioearth, from the UK, energy efficient products designer: 45 jobs

The new batch of jobs add up to 433.

It's hard to pinpoint how much credit Gimenez should get for these new jobs. No matter who the county mayor is, some companies could choose to relocate or expand in Miami-Dade County. (Also, the data we received from the Beacon Council reflected jobs coming in -- not whether any jobs in these areas were cut.)

We sent a summary of what we learned from the Beacon Council to Chris Lafakis, a senior economist at Moody's who studies Miami-Dade's economy, and asked him to assess Gimenez's promise.

"The needle has barely moved ... a couple hundred jobs here or there is not going to have a measurable impact on the Miami economy, which employs over one million."

Lafakis sent us data that showed the number of jobs per month in Miami-Dade County in technical consulting, IT, engineering and other similar jobs have remained fairly stagnant over the past year.

Because the evidence seems mixed so far, we leave the rating as is: In the Works.


Interview, Maria Camacho, spokeswoman for the Beacon Council, Oct. 15, 2013

Interview, Chris Lafakis, senior economist Moody's, Oct. 15, 2013

Early signs of some job growth

Updated: Friday, June 7th, 2013 | By Amy Sherman

When Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ran for re-election in 2012, he promised on his campaign website  to "attract new investment and create high-paying quality jobs.”

Gimenez didn't attach any specific numbers to that promise -- unlike Gov. Rick Scott who promised to create over 700,000 jobs which we have rated Stalled.

Though Gimenez's promise was vague, job creation is an important task for a mayor and we decided to track his progress on our Carlos-O-Meter.

Gimenez's spokeswoman Suzy Trutie told us that Gimenez wanted to attract jobs in information technology, engineering and life sciences. Trutie said that Gimenez had held meetings with individuals within those industries about locating or expanding in Miami-Dade County. We didn't rate his promise immediately and decided to watch his progress.

Several months after Gimenez won re-election in August 2012, we circled back to County Hall and other experts to evaluate his progress.

Gimenez's promise overlaps with the Beacon Council's One Community One Goal initiative to create 75,000 new jobs in Miami-Dade County between 2012 and 2017 with a focus on  targeted industries including IT and life sciences. (In March, the board of the Beacon Council -- the county's economic development arm -- ousted it's longtime director Frank Nero and is searching for a permanent director.)

The Beacon Council sent us a list of companies that do work in IT, engineering or life sciences that have finalized deals with the council to add jobs in Miami-Dade County since October 2012.

Here are the companies and the jobs they promised to provide within three years:

Avadora USA from Brazil, web design/development: 15

Four Winds Interactive from Denver, digital signage: 70

Helix Hearing Care from Canada, treat hearing loss: 10

IECISA from Spain, information and communication technologies: 20

Neocis LLC, a Miami-Dade start-up and medical device company: 25

Sapient Corp., consulting/technology/marketing firm expansion: 67

Univision, TV network expansion: 346

The total adds up to 553 jobs. The lowest average salary for these firms is $50,000.

Two of these companies were approved for financial incentives by the county and/or state but only get the money after they created the jobs and promised investment.

These are companies that do some work in the sectors identified by Gimenez, but it doesn't mean all of the jobs are in IT, engineering or life sciences. For example, some of these jobs could be for receptionists or in the case  of Univision, reporters. The average wage of these jobs will be $45,000.

Let's take a look at the one expected to produce the largest number of jobs: Univision/ABC news, which will launch a new English-language TV news network targeting Hispanics headquartered at the Univision studios in Doral. The company expects to spend about $275 million to create the network, and Miami-Dade promised about $3.5 million in incentives if the company meets hiring goals. Keeping the company in Miami-Dade was important to local officials as the company considered other locations such as Houston, New York and Los Angeles.

It's somewhat difficult to assess how much credit Gimenez should get for these business locations/expansions. The county is a partner in the Beacon Council but as mayor, Gimenez doesn't set the budget or hire the director (the county passes through business tax money.)

Overall, the employment picture in Miami-Dade is far from rosy. In April, the unemployment rate was 9.6 percent and Miami-Dade employers added 2,600 payroll positions. The Miami Herald reported that slow hiring was due to drops in local government employment, sluggishness in the construction sector and job losses at hospitals.

Chris Lafakis, a senior economist at Moody's who studies Miami-Dade's economy, called the area's job growth in IT, engineering and biotechnology "anemic.”

"In terms of the overall job picture, payroll employment in Miami is 1,032,000. That's up by 2,700 since November 2012; a 0.26 percent increase. For comparison, national payroll employment has risen three times as fast over the same period,” Lafakis told PolitiFact Florida in an email. "This being said, however, the mayor hasn't been in office for long enough to have an impact on the macro economy. So while he hasn't lived up to his promise so far, he still deserves the benefit of the doubt because not a lot of time has passed.”

Gimenez promised to "attract new investment and create high-paying quality jobs” and said that he wanted to focus on IT, engineering and life sciences. The new jobs only add up to about 550 -- and they are jobs promised over the next three years, so we don't know yet if they will materialize. We would need to see actual job growth in these areas -- and many more jobs -- to consider this a Promise Kept. But these first steps earn Gimenez an In the Works.


Miami Herald Naked Politics blog, "CEO of Miami-Dade Beacon Council ousted,” March 8, 2013

Miami Herald, "Univision-ABC channel reflects ‘new reality" of Hispanic rise in America,” Accessed in Nexis, Oct. 11, 2013

Miami Herald, "Slow hiring in Miami-Dade keeps unemployment close to 10 percent,” May 17, 2013

PolitiFact, "Gov. Rick Scott's job creation goal gets an unexpected boost, but ...,” March 21, 2013

Various company websites, Avadora USA, Four Winds Interactive, Helix Hearing Care, IECISA, Neocis LLC,  Sapient Corp, Univision, Accessed June 4, 2013

Interview, Ana Acle-Menendez, spokeswoman for The Beacon Council, June 4, 2013

Interview, Vanessa Santana-Peñate, spokewoman for Miami-Dade county,  June 4, 2013

Interview, Chris Lafakis, senior economist Moody's, June 5, 2013

Carlos Gimenez says job creation is a top priority in second term

Updated: Monday, November 19th, 2012 | By Amy Sherman

After former Miami-Dade county commissioner Carlos Gimenez was elected county mayor  in June 2011 to replace his recalled predecessor, PolitiFact Florida unveiled the  Carlos-O-Meter to track the mayor's promises.

In August 2012, Gimenez won re-election to a four-year term which officially starts Nov. 20. We have added one promise to the meter from his 2012 campaign.

Gimenez promised on his campaign website  to "attract new investment and create high-paying quality jobs.”

Gimenez didn't state the number of new jobs, size of investment or definition  of a high-paying quality job attached to that promise. County spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said that the mayor was referring to jobs in information technology, engineering and life sciences.Trutie said that Gimenez has met with individuals and organizations within those industries to explore the feasibility of establishing or expanding their operations in Miami-Dade County.

During the campaign, Gimenez mentioned several steps he would take to achieve that promise, including an expedited permitting process and eliminating outdated regulations. Gimenez also wrote that he was a co-chair of the One Community One Goal Initiative  -- a collaboration between multiple partners including The Beacon Council, the county's economic development arm.

That initiative aims to create 75,000 new jobs in Miami-Dade County between 2012 and 2017 with a focus on these targeted industries:

* aviation
* creative design (advertising, architecture,  fashion, etc.)
* hospitality and tourism
* information technology
* international banking and finances
* life sciences and health care
* trade and logistics

Tony Villamil, dean of the business school at St. Thomas University, chairs an economic roundtable for the Beacon Council. Villamil told PolitiFact Florida that it is difficult to forecast the number of new jobs because changes in the global economy will affect that outcome in Miami-Dade County.

The goal of the initiative is to "change the composition of the job growth” toward industries that have higher wages, he said.

Moody's projects job growth of about 85,000 for the county during that timeframe, Moody's economist Chris Lafakis told PolitiFact. (Here is the most recent jobs analysis from Moody's.)

Lafakis said that employment has risen by 5,900 since Gimenez took office in July 2011. But the largest increases have been in low-paying areas such as retail or moderate-paying jobs in professional and business services and education and health care.

The One Community initiative was independent of Gimenez's campaign, so we are not evaluating the goal of creating 75,000 jobs as a campaign promise. But we are going to evaluate Gimenez's progress toward the promise of attracting investment and creating high-quality jobs and that will overlap with the One Community initiative.

We have not heard enough specifics about actions Gimenez has taken toward this promise, so we are leaving it unrated for now.


Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Campaign website accomplishments page, 2012

Beacon Council, One Community One Goalplan andflyer, May 2012

Moody's, Miami-Dade County employment and income, July 2012

Interview, Suzy Trutie, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County, Nov.  15, 2012

Interview, Jack Osterholt, Deputy Mayor for Miami-Dade County, Nov. 14, 2012

Interview, Ana Acle-Menendez, spokeswoman for the Beacon Council. Nov. 15, 2012

Interview, Tony Villamil, Dean of the Business School at St. Thomas University, Nov. 15, 2012

Interview, Chris Lafakis, economist at Moodys,  Nov. 13, 2012


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