West Palm Beach, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2023) – 2022 was one for the record books with Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate reaching two record lows and remaining at historic lows throughout the year, according to the latest reports released today by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (all numbers not seasonally adjusted):
- Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for December 2022 announced today is a new record low of 2.2 percent, below the year-ago rate of 2.7 percent. The previous record low of 2.3 percent was set in April 2022. The county’s unemployment rate has stayed at or below 3.0 percent for 11 consecutive months.
- The county’s rate remains below the 3.3 percent national rate and matches Florida’s 2.2 percent rate. The county’s rate has remained below the nation’s for more than two years and stayed below or matched the state rate for nine months in 2022.
- For more than a year, there have been more job openings than unemployed people in Palm Beach County. There are 34,254 job openings vs. 16,661 unemployed people in December. Total employment has exceeded the pre-Covid peak every month since Feb. 2022.
- Total nonagricultural employment in the county is 683,800 adding 21,700 jobs over the year – a 3.3 percent gain.
Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate reached 14.7 percent in April 2020.
“There has never been a better time in this county’s history to find a job,” 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. “We expect continued strong local job growth through mid-2023 with the most in-demand jobs in the hospitality/tourism, healthcare, and trades/transportation industry sectors.”
Job growth/loss by industry sector: For more than a year, the leisure/hospitality industry sector has led the county in over-the-year job growth – adding 9,200 jobs for a 10.3 percent jump. Jobs in two industry sectors – leisure/hospitality, and government -- grew faster in the county than statewide over the year.
By the numbers, there were over-the-year job gains in nine sectors in Palm Beach County:
Industry Change Total jobs
Leisure/hospitality +9,200 jobs 98,700
Education/health services +5,000 jobs 111,000
Trade/transportation/utilities +3,000 jobs 127,600
Other services +2,600 jobs 34,400
Government +1,400 jobs 65,300
Manufacturing +1,200 jobs 22,100
Construction +300 jobs 39,800
Financial activities +300 jobs 47,800
Information +200 jobs 10,700
Professional/business services -1,500 jobs 126,200
Trends Observed This Period
- Continued strong job market and wage growth
- Continued strong consumer demand
- Inflation cooling a bit
- Strong tourism season in Palm Beach County
- High costs of housing, food
- Higher interest rates may weaken worker leverage in job market, lead to layoffs
State of the Workforce Report for Palm Beach County Now Available
More information on the facts and characteristics of Palm Beach County’s workforce is available in CareerSource Palm Beach County’s annual State of the Workforce Report for program year 21-22 at this website link: https://www.flipsnack.com/careersourcepbc/state-of-the-workforce-21-22.html
2022 Employment Highlights
Record low unemployment: Palm Beach County set record low unemployment rates twice in 2022 – 2.2 percent in Dec. and 2.3 percent April. The county’s unemployment rate also stayed at or below 3.0 percent for 11 consecutive months.
Palm Beach County trended better than state, nation: Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate remained below the nation for more than two years and stayed below or matched the state rate for nine months in 2022.
More jobs available than unemployed: For more than a year, there were more job openings than unemployed people in Palm Beach County. Total employment has exceeded the pre-Covid peak every month since Feb. 2022.
Local and national conditions continued to impact the job market:
• Mass exodus of baby boomers: Labor force participation for people over 55 remained well below pre-pandemic levels. According to the Pew Research Center, some 2 million baby boomers retire each year. In 2020, this number appears to have grown to a historic high: over 3 million decided to end their careers. Their accelerated departure from the labor force with decades of experience is hard to replace and most have not been returning to the workplace after leaving.
• 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.
• Shortfall of 20-somethings: The Wall Street Journal reported a shortfall of about half a million workers in their early 20s compared to 2019 levels. This group represents the future of the labor force and presents even more significant challenges to recruiting efforts.
Creative hiring/recruiting: Besides raising wages and offering signing/retention bonuses, employers have been offering perks such as flexible work schedules, 4-day work weeks, full or part-time work from home, childcare and other benefits. Employers also turned to less experienced workers, people with minor criminal backgrounds, and foreign workers to help fill staffing gaps.
Flexible work environment: In-person, hybrid, and remote work continued as popular arrangements to meet business needs. Surveys show that employees like the idea of eliminating or reducing commuting costs along with lower spending on meals, entertainment, personal services and shopping.
Growth in AI/automation: With employers being forced to operate with fewer workers in many industry sectors, the use of artificial intelligence/automation continued to increase. Online commerce has increased along with more self-serve activities such as the use of kiosks for ordering food, hotel check-in, etc. eliminating several routine jobs.
Services provided: CareerSource PBC provided 45,149 recorded services to 10,658 job seeker and employer clients in 2022.
Award-winning achievements: The CareerSource PBC Veterans Services Team was honored as state winners at the Florida Veterans Workforce Summit and President/CEO Julia Dattolo received the Nonprofit Executive of the Year award from Nonprofits First in Palm Beach County.
New board chair, officers: Christopher Cothran, NextEra Energy Resources executive, was appointed Board Chair at the Oct. meeting of the board of directors. David Markarian, veteran legal advocate and business professional, was named Board Vice Chair and Dr. Laurie George, United Way of Palm Beach County President and CEO, was appointed Board Secretary. Steven Gustafson, who previously led the statewide programs unit at the Florida Dept. of Economic Opportunity, was appointed COO in March.
Looking for a New Career in the New Year? Looking to Hire? 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 45,000 residents find employment/reemployment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $700 million in annual wages. CareerSource also awarded $14.7 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 businesses prosper 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 employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Jan. and Feb. 2023 are scheduled for release, respectively, on March 13 and 24, 2023. 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. Please call 561.340.1061 ext. 2229 for scheduling before 3 p.m. today.
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 $15,851,406 (revised annually). Unless otherwise stipulated, all statements, news releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations and other applicable documents are fully funded from federal sources.