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A final word on LeBron fallout, from an economic perspective

I'm not going to take long, because this is literally the last angle to be played, but it's stuck under my craw since last week. People who supported LeBron James' move to Miami were criticized for supporting something that would damage Cleveland's anemic economy, and that moving him to a "wealthy" area like Miami was greedy. There's no doubt that an area like Cleveland is facing unique economic issues, and that the two areas have vastly different economic bases. But the simple argument comparting poor Cleveland and wealthy Miami doesn't exactly play out how you may think. According to the most recently available data (April 2010), Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located, currently has an unemployment percentage of 9.1%, slightly below the national average. Miami-Dade, on the other hand, has a percentage of 11.3%, more than a full point above the national average. Miami masks its economic woes with palm trees and sunlight, but because it was so reliant on real estate development during the past decade, it got hit harder in the current recession than most areas outside of Las Vegas. Even moving past unemployment, the most recent three-year estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau puts the per capita income in the county, in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars, at $23,750, which is $3,716 less than the national average, in an area with a very high cost of living average. In Cuyahoga County, the per capita income is $26,819, only $647 below the national average. It's certainly nothing to write home about for Miami-Dade. The county, which is identified by million-dollar homes on Star Island and lavish parties on South Beach, has some of the greatest discrepencies between wealth and abject poverty in the country. So when people talk about how economically devestating the move is to Cleveland, attention should be paid to how economically important the acquisions of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and James are to South Florida at the same time.