DJ 33 1/3

DJ 33 1/3

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Living Gap Looms Large In South Florida

Photo: Getty Images

In the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers with jobs that could be performed remotely were spared from significant financial damage, but those with the lower-paying service jobs that dominate the South Florida economy, faced hardship.

More than 70% of the increase in household wealth in 2020 went to the top 20% of income earners, about one-third going just to the top 1%.

Front-line workers weren’t making a lot before COVID, and were suddenly putting their health at risk during COVID, many lost jobs, so those are the people most affected, in multiple ways.

There were more than 500,000 workers looking for work in July.

Wealthier parts of the country came to Miami due to looser COVID rules and relatively lower cost of living, and existing disparities have grown worse.

In Miami-Dade County, the number of single-family homes that sold for more than $1 million increased 78% over the last year, to 1,950 from 1,095. In Broward County, the increase was 62%; in Palm Beach County, 63%.

The number of single-family homes sold for at least $10 million in the last year has soared, to more than 170 in July, and Miami-Dade experienced a loss of nearly 40,000 residents to other parts of the state or U.S.

Between February 2020 and June 2021, the number of county residents receiving food stamp benefits increased to 639,163 from 518,157. In Broward, it climbed to 297,160 from 219,585. Poorer neighborhoods are hampered by lower performing, often segregated schools, long commutes on unreliable forms of transportation and higher crime.

Miami-Dade carries an unemployment rate of 7.1% compared with the statewide rate of 5%. At the same time, Dade’s entire labor force has shrunk by nearly 64,000 workers since the start of the pandemic.

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