Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Closes 2023 at 3.0 Percent; Record High Number of Employed Set Three Times During Year

Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Closes 2023 at 3.0 Percent; Record High Number of Employed Set Three Times During Year

West Palm Beach, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2024) – 2023 was one for the record books in Palm Beach County with the number of employed people reaching three record highs while unemployment rates stayed near historic lows. December’s unemployment rate closed the year at 3.0 percent, below November’s 3.1 percent, and above the year-ago rate of 2.2 percent, according to reports released today by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Commerce Department (all numbers not seasonally adjusted):

  • Palm Beach County’s lowest unemployment rate in 2023 stood at 2.3 percent in April – the second lowest on record.
  • The county’s December rate remains below the 3.5 percent national rate, but just above Florida’s 2.9 percent rate. The county’s rate has remained below the nation’s for more than three years.
  • Total nonagricultural employment in the county reached a record high 686,300 in October 2023, surpassed with a new record 691,600 in November, and closed the year with yet another record 691,700 in December. For more than two years, there have been more job openings than unemployed people in Palm Beach County.

“2023 was another outstanding year for job seekers and workers with near record low unemployment rates for more than two years,” said Julia Dattolo, President and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in the county. “In 2024, we expect the labor market to cool a bit from the red-hot levels of the past couple of years as the gap between labor demand and supply gradually narrows.”

Job growth/loss by industry sector: The education/health services industry sector led the county in over-the-year job growth adding 3,900 jobs for a 3.6 percent gain. The number of jobs in the leisure/hospitality and government sectors grew faster in the county than statewide over the year.

By the numbers, over-the-year job gains and losses by sector are:

Industry                                               Change                         Total jobs

Education/health services                     +3,900 jobs                   113,000

Leisure/hospitality                                +3,300 jobs                   96,200

Government                                         +2,100 jobs                   66,800

Construction                                         +700 jobs                      42,200

Financial activities                                 +400 jobs                     50,500

Trade/transportation/utilities                  +200 jobs                     128,400

Manufacturing                                       no change                     21,600

Information                                          -100 jobs                      11,200

Other services                                       -300 jobs                     30,000

Professional/business services               -2,800 jobs                   131,600


Trends Observed This Period


  • Continued strong job market
  • Palm Beach County unemployment rate below 4% for more than 2 years
  • U.S. inflation at 3.4%


  • Housing affordability
  • Rising insurance costs, availability
  • Federal government shutdown threats


2023 Employment Highlights

Palm Beach County employment trended better than the nation: Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate remained below the nation’s for more than three years.

More jobs available than unemployed: For more than two years, 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.

Economic diversification: While industries like agriculture and tourism remain essential sectors of our county’s economy, dominant industries driving job growth with increasing wages today are finance, insurance, professional business services and real estate.

Local and national conditions continued to impact the job market:

Mass exodus of baby boomers: Baby Boomers’ 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. The Baby Boomer generation was more than three times larger than the generation that came before it, the Silent Generation. As Boomers entered the workforce in the early 1960s, labor force participation rose sharply. However, the following generation, Generation X, was smaller than the Boomers. The Millennial Generation is only slightly larger than the Boomers, and Generation Z is slightly smaller than the Millennials. This means that as Boomers retire and exit the workforce, there are not enough workers in the younger generations to fully replace them. Boomers will still be spending and consuming, so businesses will still need to meet strong demand, but they will have to do so with a smaller pool of workers.

Record number of women in the labor market: Companies have more women on their payrolls than ever before, in part because of a steady rise in the share of women ages 25 to 54 who are employed or searching for work. The participation rate for that group climbed to a record high of 77.5 percent in April, surpassing a peak reached in 2000, according to government data going back to the 1940s.

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: While some employers are calling workers back to the office, in-person, hybrid, and remote work continue as popular arrangements to meet business needs.  

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.

National award-winning achievements: The National Association of Workforce Development Professionals presented their National Workforce Employer of the Year award to CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County for their partnership to improve economic and employment development in the region. 

More employment information is available at CareerSource Palm Beach County’s annual State of the Workforce Report at this link:


New Year, New Career? Looking to Hire? Here’s Help!

CareerSource offers job fairs, workshops, 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 nearly 33,000 residents find employment/reemployment ranging from entry-level to executive suite. CareerSource also awarded $11.9 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance during that time. More information is at

CareerSource also provides services to help businesses prosper in today’s challenging marketplace 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 coming in March:  State and local employment reports for Jan. and Feb. 2024 are scheduled for release, respectively, on March 11 and 22, 2024. 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: A CareerSource spokesperson is available for interviews on local employment and economic trends today at the West Palm Beach career center. Call 561.340.1061 ext. 2229 by 3 p.m. for requests.

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. Palm Beach County’s record low unemployment rate was 2.2 percent in December 2022. Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in April 2020.



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 $14,386,462 (revised annually). Unless otherwise stipulated, all statements, news releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations and other applicable documents are fully funded from federal sources.


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