In addition, for seven consecutive months, there are more job openings than unemployed people in Palm Beach County – 33,525 job openings vs. 25,333 unemployed people in January. Total nonagricultural employment in the county is 647,600 adding 30,700 jobs over the year – a 5.0 percent gain.
More good news – wages and salaries grew faster in South Florida than in any of the nation’s other large metropolitan areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salaries in the seven-county area extending from Miami-Dade north to Indian River and Okeechobee counties grew 6 percent for the year ending in Dec. 2021 compared to just 1.5 percent in 2020. Even so, inflation is outpacing wage gains.
“While it continues to be a strong job seekers’ market with more job openings than unemployed people, inflation -- now at a 40-year high nationally – is surpassing wage gains,” said Julia Dattolo, President and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.
Job growth by industry sector: For 10 consecutive months, the leisure/hospitality industry sector has led the county in over-the-year job growth – adding 11,100 jobs for a 14.5 percent jump. Jobs in the information, trade/transportation/utilities, financial activities, manufacturing, construction, and government sectors grew faster in the county than statewide over the year.
By the numbers, over-the-year job gains/losses in Palm Beach County were:
Industry Change Total jobs
Leisure/hospitality +11,100 jobs 87,600
Trade/transportation/utilities +6,700 jobs 122,500
Professional/business services +4,100 jobs 122,900
Financial activities +2,400 jobs 46,900
Construction +1,400 jobs 39,000
Education/health services +1,400 jobs 103,100
Information +1,300 jobs 10,300
Other services +1,200 jobs 31,400
Manufacturing +800 jobs 20,900
Government +300 jobs 62,800
Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate reached 14.7 percent in April 2020. The record low unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in Dec. 2019.
2022 Employment Outlook
Two pre-existing conditions will continue to impact the job market:
• Mass exodus of baby boomers: According to the Pew Research Center, the rate of retirement of baby boomers has accelerated since the pandemic began with almost 29 million boomers retiring in 2020 – an increase of more than 3 million from 2019. With 75 million baby boomers retiring by 2030, their accelerated departure from the labor force with decades of experience will be hard to replace.
• Lowest birth rates in U.S. history: The national birth rate, already in decline, hit a 35-year low in 2019, and the relative size of the working-age population has been shrinking since 2008. While boomers were born into families with an average of four children each, boomers had an average of just 1.8 children. Thus, as they leave the workforce, there simply aren’t enough workers to replace them.
Workers’ increasing influence: A record 4.5 million Americans quit or changed jobs in Nov. 2021. Many quit to go to higher paying jobs, better benefits, and more flexible jobs. In Florida, the percentage of workers quitting to leave for better jobs doubled over the prior year. The marketplace is expected to be better for job seekers in this decade compared to the last decade, with more balance similar to the 2019 job market.
Wage increases: Employers competing to fill jobs from a decreasing pool of applicants continued to raise wages to attract talent. Wage growth in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 15.3 percent in April 2021. At CareerSource Palm Beach County, many entry level jobs ranging between $9 and $11 per hour before COVID increased to between $14 and $16 hourly as the “defacto minimum.”
More flexibility: Besides raising wages and offering signing/retention bonuses, employers offered perks such as flexible work schedules, 4-day work weeks, full or part-time work from home, child care and other benefits. CareerSource expanded the local jobs pipeline over the year by hosting/participating in 168 in-person and virtual hiring events that attracted 108 local employers.
Growth in remote, hybrid work: The rate of remote work steadily increased since the pandemic started. Besides eliminating commuting costs, there is reduced spending on meals, entertainment, personal services and shopping. Many organizations are allowing staff to work from home at least a couple of days a week.
Growth in automation: When massive layoffs followed the pandemic strike, many employers were forced to operate with fewer workers through automation and process improvements. The pandemic also accelerated digital transformation of business activities, eliminating many routine jobs.
Looking for a New Career? Here’s Help!
CareerSource offers virtual and in-person job fairs, classes and facilities for job searches, grants for job skills training for those who qualify, career development and consulting – at no cost! During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted nearly 60,000 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $1.2 billion in annual wages. CareerSource also awarded $10.1 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance during that time. More information is at www.careersourcepbc.com
CareerSource also provides services to help rebuild and sustain businesses 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.
Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Feb. 2022 are scheduled for release on March 25, 2022. At the beginning of each year, there is a lag in reporting Jan. and Feb. employment data as the government recalibrates historical data factoring in new population inputs and revisions to economic data, creating changes in the original statistics.
Note to editors: You are invited to interview a CareerSource spokesperson on local employment and economic trends before 3:00 p.m. today. Please call 561.340.1061 ext. 2229 for scheduling.
Note: The unemployment rate is a measure of how many people in the labor force are out of a job. For example, if total employment holds constant and unemployed Americans stop looking for work, thereby leaving the labor force, the unemployment rate will fall even though no jobs have been added. Conversely, if employment holds steady and recent graduates enter the labor force looking for work, the unemployment rate will rise even though no jobs have disappeared.
IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE STEVENS AMENDMENT:
CareerSource Palm Beach County, Inc. is the direct service provider for various workforce programs supported by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other agencies as part of awards totaling $17,610,090 (revised annually). Unless otherwise stipulated, all statements, news releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations and other applicable documents are fully funded from federal sources.