West Palm Beach, Fla. (March 25, 2022) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for February 2022 announced today is 3.0 percent, below the year-ago of 5.1 percent, and below the 4.1 percent national rate and Florida’s 3.1 percent rate. The county’s unemployment rate has remained below the nation’s for 19 months and the state for 18 months, according to the latest monthly reports released today by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (all numbers not seasonally adjusted).
In addition, for eight consecutive months, there are more job openings than unemployed people in Palm Beach County – 31,878 job openings vs. 22,366 unemployed people in February. Total nonagricultural employment in the county is 656,600 adding 32,600 jobs over the year – a 5.2 percent gain.
“While the job market has made very strong gains over the past year with historically low unemployment rates, inflation is surpassing wage gains. Prices rose nearly 8 percent nationally in February compared to a year ago,” 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. “Today’s report also was conducted largely before the Ukraine conflict began, so it doesn’t reflect its impact on the labor market.”
Job growth by industry sector: For 11 consecutive months, the leisure/hospitality industry sector has led the county in over-the-year job growth – adding 11,100 jobs for a 14.1 percent jump. Jobs in the other services, trade/transportation/utilities, manufacturing, construction, education/health services, 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 89,600
Trade/transportation/utilities +8,100 jobs 123,600
Education/health services +2,800 jobs 105,600
Professional/business services +2,400 jobs 123,300
Other services +2,400 jobs 32,900
Financial activities +2,200 jobs 46,600
Construction +1,600 jobs 39,600
Manufacturing +1,000 jobs 21,300
Government +600 jobs 63,400
Information +400 jobs 10,500
Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate reached 14.7 percent in April 2020. The record-low unemployment rate changed to 2.7 percent in Dec. 2021 with the government’s annual recalibration of historical data released this month.
Encouraging Labor Market Trends
Tight labor market continues to drive wage increases: U.S. businesses posted a near-record level of open jobs in January. The nation still is missing almost 4 million workers as employers struggle to fill about 10 million job openings. With 75 million baby boomers retiring by 2030, their accelerated departure from the labor force with decades of experience will be hard to replace. Employers competing to fill jobs from a decreasing pool of applicants continue to drive wage growth to attract talent.
Workers’ increasing influence: More than 3 million workers in the U.S. quit monthly, many to go to higher-paying jobs, better benefits, more meaningful work and/or more flexible work arrangements. This risk of layoffs is lower with the likelihood of workers switching to better jobs. The marketplace is expected to be better for job seekers in this decade compared to the last decade, perhaps similar to the 2019 job market.
A 52-year low in unemployment benefits applications: The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week fell to its lowest level since 1970, an indicator of a strong job market in the midst of rising costs.
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
Note to editors: You are invited to interview a CareerSource spokesperson on local employment and economic trends. 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.