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“COVID has underscored long-standing inequalities in our system—the differentials in death rates, and more recently, vaccination rates, between minority and white populations are real,” says Howard Frank, professor and chair of public policy and administration and director of the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center. “These are issues our students need to understand and be aware of.”

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“We still don’t have the positive economic indicators that will slow down the moving out of the county in terms of wages and jobs, and especially in terms of housing,” said Maria Ilcheva, Assistant Director of Planning and Operations for the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University. “That’s what’s primarily driving prices up: There is higher demand, but the higher demand is not being driven by local conditions.”

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Florida International University recently announced that researchers have created a tool that tracks South Florida’s recovery from the pandemic. The researchers at the Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center created the monthly COVID Economic Recovery Index, tracking tri-county indicators in health, housing and the economy and comparing them to state and national statistics.

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“The impact of COVID-19 on our region is unprecedented,” said Ned Murray, associate director of the Jorge M. Pérez FIU Metropolitan Center. “We hope to quantify the impact of the pandemic through this index and guide policymakers in their decisions during the economic recovery.”

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Will a new shared office space work in the post-COVID-19 era? Edward “Ned” Murray, an urban planner and an associate director at Florida International University’s Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center, isn’t so sure. He pointed out that shared office spaces were not doing well even before the COVID-19 pandemic, since it’s more economical for private contractors and freelancers – a major market for shared office spaces – to simply turn their homes into offices.

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To lift up the local workforce, the finance companies would have to hire locally instead of just importing their stars from New York, said Maria Ilcheva, a professor and assistant director of planning and operations at Florida International University's Jorge Perez Metropolitan Center, which studies urban matters.

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Florida added 51,600 new, non-agricultural jobs, an increase from September’s 47,300 figure, though still below August’s 57,900 clip. Manatee added 2,385 jobs in October, while Sarasota County added 2,551. Ned Murray, associate director of the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University, said the data are reason for cautious optimism.

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With the pandemic making it even harder for some to make ends meet. More than 14% of households in the Miami Metro area do not have enough food, Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center found.

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South Florida has more minority-owned businesses than any U.S. metro aside from San Jose, California, according to the FIU Metropolitan Center. Thirty-seven percent of Miami businesses are minority-owned, compared to 18% in the U.S.

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While starts on multifamily condo and rental projects were down significantly in the third quarter — with 2,055 units in 2020, down almost 38% from 2019 — they’ve picked up since October, according to Ned Murray, associate director of FIU’s Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center. Construction starts already are set to be up about 30% in the fourth quarter of 2020 over the same period in 2019. More than half are in the city of MIami.

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