This is an archived version of a Field of Schemes article. Comments on this page are closed. To find the current version of the article with updated comments, click here.
July 25, 2011
Marlins stadium to create jobs at stunningly tepid rate
Today's Miami Herald headline:
If you've read this site at all, you know that we've heard this song before. But, hell, I'm game: What would those jobs and business opportunities be, exactly?
Scroll down past the first seven paragraphs, past the discussion of "thermoplastic white membranes" and 24-foot aquariums, and you get to this:
Through late May — the time of the Marlins' most recent analysis — the project had employed 3,807 workers, nearly all of whom have been on assignment multiple days or weeks. About 700 are working on construction now, about 200 less than during the height of heavy lifting.
Okay, construction projects employ construction workers — that's hopefully not exactly news. And if Miami were building anything else — schools, highways, space elevators — the same would be true. What else?
"You're getting close to 1,800 to 2,000 people per game," [Marlins VP Claude] Delorme said. That includes 1,200 workers on the food services side, about 400 on stadium operations (everything from security to grounds-crew to ushers), a cleaning staff of about 60, another 80 people involved with parking and dozens of others for ancillary jobs. obviously, a lot of those job are simply being shifted from Sun Life Stadium to the new ball park.
So, maybe 2,000 people on game days — which is only 81 days out of the year. Even if you assume that some workers (ticket sellers, grounds crew) need to work year-round, we're still down to almost certainly less than 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs; and "a lot" of those will just be replacing people currently employed at Sun Life Stadium.
Let's be extremely generous here, and assume the equivalent of 500 new jobs as a result of the stadium. At $478 million in public subsidies, that's just about exactly $1 million in taxpayer money per jobs, a ratio would be worse than just about any other economic development project on the planet. At this rate, that helicopter idea sounds better and better.
Of course, we still haven't gotten to the "business opportunities," which come down to ... um, a guy with a food cart who's been selling burgers and churrasco to the construction crew, and says he's "hoping to stay when the stadium opens."
The real point of the article, needless to say, is to let Delorme go on about all the stuff that will be available at the new stadium (Cuban sandwiches! Cuban pastries!). Save your time, and re-read the six big lies about the Marlins stadium instead.