While we reopened our Central and West Career Centers for in-person services earlier this month, we are continuing to provide assistance using online platforms such as Zoom, virtual hiring events, webinars, webcasts, phone and email. This has resulted in a new hybrid model in our delivery of services, some of them available 24/7, and one we plan to expand and improve upon in the future.
On top of record unemployment arising from the COVID -19 pandemic, we have seen our community’s emotions and fears heighten to a whole new level. I have confidence that together, we will emerge from these times stronger, better and more adaptive in delivering our services to you when they are needed the most.
Some recent encouraging signs include:
- Nonagricultural employment in the county increased to 569,900 in May from 551,900 in April. The county labor force also has increased to 682,852 in May up from 653,719 in April – indicating that more people are working and looking for work.
- The number of new weekly unemployment claims has been trending down dramatically. This indicates that we have hit the bottom of layoffs and are seeing some modest employment recovery in industry sectors such as Construction, Professional and Business Services, Leisure and Hospitality.
- Over the last six months (10/19-4/20) the Business Development Board reports 18 company relocations into Palm Beach County representing over 2,000 well-paying new jobs representing a local investment of over $45 million.
I’m proud to tell you how Palm Beach County was spotlighted at the CareerSource Florida board of directors meeting last month. Kelly Smallridge, President/CEO of the Business Development Board, and Michael Corbit, our Asst. Vice President, presented how we collaborate with businesses that relocate to our county and are hiring our residents. This best practice showed how this effort builds the local talent pipeline and was well received. Kelly reiterated that the BDB and CareerSource “are blessed to have one of the best economic development and workforce partnerships in the state of Florida. We make a great team and this symbiotic relationship is going to get us out of the current state of affairs.”
I couldn’t agree more! We are here for you and our communities during this difficult time. Please let us know if we can be of help to your organization in any way.
Your Regional Economic Outlook
The most recent unemployment rate for Palm Beach County is in record high territory at 14.1 percent, that was lower than the state rate at 14.3 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted). This is a local loss of -71,300 jobs as measured in May 2020 compared to May 2019.
What will the Future Economy Look Like?
Some of the catastrophic economic and labor market statistics from recent weeks are actually not that surprising. It’s obvious that when businesses are shut down and people are ordered to stay home, there will be a lot of unemployment. Unlike past recessions resulting in high unemployment this recession was not caused by economic conditions or market valuation, this was a choice to fight the virus.
The bigger question is what happens next as our local economy opens? That question may have been answered by the record surges in local Corona virus infections, after we partially reopened locally our residents tried to return to pre-pandemic life, which caused a new spike in local infections. Palm Beach County local government took immediate actions to monitor social distancing and require face masks in public places.
The next likely scenario is within a few months, most of the occupancy restrictions to nonessential businesses will be lifted. While many local businesses have reopened and some residents have returned to work, full recovery to all businesses is unlikely to be complete for quite some time.
Consumers will probably continue spending less on categories that both pose a strong risk of contagion and can be put on hold, like entertainment, travel, lodging and dining out at restaurants.
One pleasant surprise on the economic front: The housing market is doing better than predicted, despite the effects of the pandemic. Home buying activity has shown solid increases last month, suggesting that the market may heal faster than expected. Home purchase applications are up 21% nationwide from this time a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. After a two-month slowdown, price gains appear to be back to the pre-crisis trend. Buyer traffic to new homes has surged in June. It was still below normal levels, but the rebound is likely to encourage builders to speed up construction. In fact, that may already be happening, given the recent uptick in local building permits.
What is the State of the Workforce in Palm Beach County?
Palm Beach County has a diverse economy in that we employ workers in almost all categories of employment from Financial activities in the east to Agriculture in the west. This is a benefit to workers locally as one or more of these categories will always be looking to hire workers during this rebound.
So who will need extra support during this recovery? More than all others, new labor market entrants will be hurt. Young workers always suffer more than their older peers during downturns, and this downturn is especially bad for them because the type of jobs that will suffer the most typically hire an unusually high concentration of them.
Even a year from now, the demand for waiters, flight attendants and hotel receptionists will likely remain well below pre-pandemic levels due to lower business volume. Since most of the job losses thus far are in these types of service jobs, several demographics that make up large proportions of those jobs will be hard hit: black and Hispanic workers, as well as workers across all ethnicities who do not have a college degree.
The administration has stopped all H1B foreign workers from entering the county with a work visa through the remainder of 2020. This is an opportunity for local workers with transferable skills to apply for these jobs, mostly focused in Computer Science, Engineering and Manufacturing. CareerSource Palm Beach County will work with local businesses to identify which jobs are available now and to match up job seekers that could fill those positions.
Over the next few months, we can expect a strong pickup in job creation. But even by the end of 2020, the employment level in Palm Beach County may still be 20-30 percent below where it stood back in February of this year.
Interview, Hire Virtually at July 15 CareerSource Virtual Career Expo
Nearly 1,000 job seekers engaged with a total of 43 employers in CareerSource Palm Beach County’s two Virtual Career Expos held in partnership with South Florida Tech during the past two months. Don’t miss out on our next virtual expo coming up on July 15!
Job seekers can interact with employers online, attend virtual workshops and submit questions and feedback via chat box. Applications can be submitted to participating employers – and all of this is available at no cost to businesses and employers!
“The current climate has reinforced the need for offering more services on virtual platforms such as job fairs, workshops, applications, live chats and more,” said Interim President and CEO Julia Dattolo.
Click on this link for more information on how your business can participate in the upcoming Virtual Career Expo:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/south-florida-tech-virtual-career-expo-tickets-104858815540?aff=ebdssbeac.
R.E.A.C.H. 2020: Reinforcing Employment Access & Career Hiring
Palm Beach County's unemployment rate among persons with disabilities is four times higher than those without. Businesses shy away from hiring this group, lacking the knowledge needed to provide reasonable accommodations. To lower this high unemployment rate, CareerSource Palm Beach County welcomes businesses to an educational conference about hiring, training and retaining persons with disabilities. This year’s event will be virtual to safely bring content to our attendees.
Our featured speakers include:
Tuesday, July 28th from 1:00pm - 3:30pm
Debra Ruh, CEO for Ruh Global Communications
Technology and innovation for individuals with unique needs.
Thursday, July 30th from 1:00pm - 3:30pm
Dr. Robert Lemon, Award-winning Speaker and Author
Inclusion and diversity in the workforce with the "new normal".
For more information and to register, click on this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/reach-2020-reinforcing-employment-access-and-career-hiring-tickets-65047390496