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Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.9 Percent from 4.4 Percent Year Ago

Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for September dropped to a 12-year low of 3.1 percent -- besting 3.2 percent set in April 2006 -- and down from 4.1 percent a year ago. The county’s rate fell below the 3.6 percent national rate, continuing a 20-month streak where the county’s rate has stayed below or matched the national rate. Florida’s rate is 3.0 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted), according to the latest monthly reports released today from CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

West Palm Beach, Fla. (Oct. 19, 2018) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for September dropped to a 12-year low of 3.1 percent -- besting 3.2 percent set in April 2006 -- and down from 4.1 percent a year ago. The county’s rate fell below the 3.6 percent national rate, continuing a 20-month streak where the county’s rate has stayed below or matched the national rate. Florida’s rate is 3.0 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted), according to the latest monthly reports released today from CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“The local job market is on fire – it’s the best time in a dozen years to be looking for a job! Palm Beach County added 22,400 jobs over the year and there were 20,420 advertised job openings in September, an 18 percent increase compared to last year,” said Steve Craig, president and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.

Over the past 12 months, the county’s unemployment rate ranged between 3.1 and 3.9 percent, primarily reflecting seasonal fluctuations. September’s rate is about one-quarter of what it was at the 11.6 percent peak unemployment rate of the Great Recession in summer 2010.

Last year, Hurricane Irma impacted local employment with both job losses and gains. Most job losses occurred in food and beverage service businesses and the tourism/hospitality sector. The job losses were mostly temporary because employees were unable to work when their establishments were closed due to evacuation, damage, power outages or other effects of the hurricane. A positive impact to the storm’s aftermath were strong job gains in construction, retail and wholesale materials suppliers, insurance and contractor jobs such as for debris removal.

Job growth by industry sector: On a percentage basis, job gains in September were led by the construction industry with 15.2 percent over-the-year job growth, above 13.7 percent statewide. The construction sector added jobs for 20 consecutive months, and had a higher percentage of monthly job growth over the state average during the same period.

By the numbers, over-the-year job gains/losses in Palm Beach County were:

Industry Change from previous month
Construction +5,800 jobs
Leisure/hospitality +7,200 jobs
Professional/business services +3,900 jobs
Financial activities +2,900 jobs
Trade/transportation/utilities +2,500 jobs
Other services +2,400 jobs
Manufacturing +1,400 jobs
Information +200 jobs
Government -1,600 jobs
Education/health services -1,800 jobs

The results for the education/health services sector primarily reflect seasonality and a shift by local healthcare employers using contract labor or so-called 1099 positions instead of hiring employees. Contract workers are not accounted for in employment reports. There are about 700 agencies and businesses that hire healthcare givers in Palm Beach County.

Top 8 most advertised jobs available: The Conference Board produces a monthly report of advertised jobs by position. The latest report shows that there were 20,420 advertisements for full-time and part-time jobs in Palm Beach County in September compared to 17,292 last year. The top 8 most advertised jobs in the county are for:

  1. Registered nurses 
  2. Retail salespeople
  3. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers 
  4. Accountants 
  5. Customer service representatives 
  6. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 
  7. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers 
  8. Web developers

Fall hiring events: The following are upcoming hiring events for the fall season:

  • Oct. 23
    Construction Jobs Hiring Event - 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    CareerSource Palm Beach County, 3400 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach
  • Nov. 7
    Paychecks for Patriots - 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
    CareerSource Palm Beach County, 3400 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach
  • Nov. 13
    Health Care Jobs Hiring Event - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Palm Beach State College, Humanities & Technology Building, Room 102
    801 Palm Beach State College Drive, Boca Raton

Fall also brings hundreds of seasonal jobs as businesses prepare for the winter holidays and tourist season. CareerSource assists many businesses in hiring full-time, part-time and temporary seasonal positions that can lead to year-round or full-time opportunities. Examples of companies that hire in the fall include restaurants, caterers, hotels and clubs, personal care salons, clinics and hospitals, gift wrapping and package delivery businesses. Check schedules of hiring events and positions available at www.careersourcepbc.com.

Whatever career you would like to pursue, the staff at CareerSource offers classes and facilities for job searches, grants for job skills training for those who qualify, career development and consulting. During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted more than 92,000 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $2.1 billion in annual average wages. CareerSource also has awarded $13 million in grants to area businesses and employees for training and educational assistance during that time.

Services for employers: CareerSource provides a comprehensive package of services to help businesses compete in today’s challenging marketplace. CareerSource absorbs the cost of most of these services including recruitment, assessments and referrals of qualified job candidates; space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates; and grants for training employees.  

Services for career seekers: Our career centers in West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and Belle Glade offer classes and facilities for job search, career development and consulting; and grants for job skills training – all at no cost. Schedules of workshops and employer hiring events are posted at www.careersourcepbc.com. From this same home page, you also will find our mobile-friendly Virtual Career System with online tools and resources to access our programs and services 24/7.

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Oct. 2018 are scheduled for release on Nov. 16.

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Note to editors: You are invited to interview a CareerSource spokesperson on local employment and economic trends, and/or career seekers at our Central Career Center in West Palm Beach. Please call 561.340.1061 ext. 2224 before 3:00 p.m. today for scheduling.