Following the most challenging year in our organization’s history, our county’s employment and economic outlook is emerging from these times stronger, better and more encouraging than ever.
Our local job market remains strong with Palm Beach County outperforming the state and nation for more than a year now. There are more jobs available than unemployed people – for the third consecutive month! Our unemployment rate is less than one-third of what it was from the 14.7 percent record high in April 2020.
The Business Development Board reports that they have assisted 31 corporate relocations/expansions resulting in more than 3,000 jobs, $152 million in capital investments and 1 million sq. feet of commercial/industrial space. Palm Beach County has become “Wall Street South” with more than 90 financial firms renting office space here.
Fall traditionally is the time many employers increase staffing for the tourism season and the local job market has never let up. Our staff is busier than ever assisting employers in all industry sectors who are finding it very challenging to hire the talent they need. As an example, our staff has held more than 50 virtual and in-person job fairs for employers since June of this year!
And that’s not all – CareerSource provides a number of services to help rebuild and sustain businesses in today’s challenging marketplace. We absorb the cost of most of these services including recruitment, assessments and referrals of qualified job candidates, space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates, labor market data, and job training grants. During the past five program years, CareerSource has awarded more than $10 million in grants to area businesses and employees for training and educational assistance. Contact our Business Services staff to help you with your hiring needs today!
The September unemployment rate for Palm Beach County is now 4.1 percent - lower than the state rate at 4.3 percent and the nation at 4.6 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted). This is a positive local job recovery with 36,607 job openings, compared to 31,018 unemployed residents.
Why are employers having such a hard time filling open positions?
In February 2020, before the COVID crisis, a record 70% of US businesses reported a talent shortage, according to a Manpower survey. That was more than double the 32% of businesses that reported difficulty finding talent just five years earlier in 2015. When COVID hit and unemployment spiked to record highs, all talent shortages should have vanished, BUT THEY DIDN’T.
Today, the economy is suffering from what some are calling the “COVID paradox”: millions of people out of work, millions of open jobs unfilled, and millions of people voluntarily bowing out of the labor market. As of September 2021, a record number of over 10M job openings in the US, as job openings exceed the number of unemployed what is really happening?
This seems like a new problem for employers, but what is really happening is that our growing economy is built on jobs and a population of workers to fill them. A balance that when provided the right number of workers our economy flourishes, expands in both goods and services. But if we reduce the number of workers without a corresponding increase in productivity our economy struggles. We have been approaching the edge of this personnel shortage cliff for decades, as a growing number of researchers and writers observed over the past few years:
• Nathan Grawe discussed America’s shrinking population and its impact on higher ed particularly in Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education (2018).
• Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson wrote about the imminent people shortage in Empty Planet (2019).
• Brookings’ William Frey, who has written about demographic challenges for years, reported that the US just saw its slowest population growth in history.
In this article, our goal is to draw more attention to this trend and help you better understand the three pre-existing conditions both revealed and exacerbated by 2020:
• The mass exodus of baby boomers (workforce past) – Last year, the number of baby-boomer retirees increased by over a million. The largest generation in US history remains a powerful cohort of key workers that still hold millions of roles. Their sudden departure from the labor force will gut the economy of crucial positions and decades of experience that will be hard to fill.
• Record-low labor force participation rate (LFPR) of Americans (workforce present) - Thousands of Americans have voluntarily opted out of looking for work. The children and grandchildren of baby boomers are not replacing the boomers who leave the workforce.
• The lowest birth rates in US history (workforce future) – 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. In fact, the national population is projected to begin shrinking by 2062. This means that over the next generation, talent shortages will only compound.
According to 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 (see chart below). Much of this is likely related to the fact that over the past year, work has become significantly more remote (people aren’t working near their colleagues), exhausting (it’s hard to put in hours of Zoom calls every day), and isolated (if people were staying in the workforce for community and culture, those incentives have largely been cut off). Further, many boomers were surely worried about catching the virus and opted to stop working early.
Boomers aren’t being replaced.
2020 sped up an inevitable process: the accelerated exit of baby boomers from the US economy they created is being compounded by the fact that boomers are not being replaced.
There also aren’t enough millennials and Gen Zs to fill boomers’ shoes. Boomers spent more time on career and income, and less on reproducing themselves. While boomers were born into families with an average of four children each, boomers themselves had an average of just 1.8 children. Thus, as they leave the workforce, there simply aren’t enough workers to replace them.
A 6-million worker deficit will lower living standards for Everyone.
In early 2018, Korn Ferry (a global organizational consulting firm) predicted that by 2028, the US can expect to see a deficit of 6 million workers, while 85 million jobs go unfilled around the globe. These shortages are more than just a challenge for HR directors or CEOs. These shortages will affect the quality of life for everyone.
When a shipping company is short tens of thousands of truck drivers, it means packages arrive late and essential goods go missing from grocery store shelves. When hospitals can’t find enough nurses, life-saving treatments get delayed, and short-staffed, sleep-deprived medical teams make critical mistakes. When corporations can’t fill high-tech security roles, everyday people are left vulnerable to data breaches and cyber-attacks. Without enough people working to provide the goods and services we’ve come to expect, prices go up and the speed and quality of service goes down.
Last December, William Frey of Brookings reported that the US population growth rate from 2019 to 2020 was a staggeringly low 0.35%, the lowest recorded growth rate of any year since 1900, and probably the lowest since the birth of our nation. Even small changes in growth have big implications. Increasing the rate of growth by just one-tenth of 1% (from 0.35% to 0.45%) between 2019 and 2020 would have meant an additional 327,000 people. But the national rate of growth generally continues to slow. 2010-2020 represents the lowest decade of population growth in US history.
Looking further into the future, the United Nations projects that the number of working-age people in the US will fall below 60% of the total population by the year 2100 and could drop to as low as 53%. The last time the working-age population dropped to near 60% was during the baby boom when the dependent population was primarily children. This time, most of the country’s dependent population will be over age 65 (see chart below).
The US is suffering the beginning phases of a great sansdemic, without people,” or in our case “without enough people”. A demographic drought is projected to worsen throughout the century and will impact every business, college, and region of our country.
This is such an important subject that we will be publishing a second part in our 1st Quarter 2022 newsletter titled “The impact of women quitting the workforce as prime-age male labor force plummets.”
Professional Placement Network: PPN
Professional Placement Network (PPN) is a no-cost three half-day morning workshop that helps experienced professionals move closer to their next career opportunity. Reach the next step on the career ladder and take advantage of the no-cost resources.
Potential participants of the Professional Placement Network are required to have the following prior to submitting their application:
- Possession of a four-year degree and a minimum of three years in a professional position.
- A previous minimum salary of $47,000 per year or greater.
Day 1: Job Readiness
- Personal Branding
- BestWork Assessment
- Developing Your Personal Infomercial
- Pre-Employment Checklist
- Resume Tips for Social Media
Day 2: Sharpening Your Tools
- Day One Review
- Resume Basics
- Digital Footprint/Gig Economy
- Transferable Job Skills
- Job Hunting Successfully
- Interviewing to Land the Job
Day 3: Landing the Job
- Day 2 Review
- Successful Job Matching
- Are you job-ready?
- Mock Interview
- Network with Recruiters
- LinkedIn Headshots
For more information and to apply visit the Professional Placement Network.
Local and national employers are participating in Paychecks for Patriots, a special hiring event for local veterans and their spouses hosted by CareerSource Palm Beach County on Tuesday, Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Palm Beach Airport Conference Center, 1301 Belvedere Road, in West Palm Beach.
Thousands of military and veteran candidates and their family members who participated in these events across the state have gained employment as a result. Find out how your business can participate in this annual hiring event.
CareerSource organizations throughout Florida are partnering with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Florida National Guard and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs to connect members of Florida’s military and veteran communities with career opportunities through Paychecks for Patriots hiring events in November.
“Many area employers actively seek to hire veterans because of the knowledge, skills and abilities they have acquired in a wide variety of specialized fields during their service,” said Julia Dattolo, president and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, and a U.S. Navy veteran.
There is no cost to participate or attend – but space is limited and only 20 employer tables and 4 support services tables are available. Contact us today to register!
Careersource Palm Beach County Featured in BDB's Quarterly Magazine
The Business Development Board's Palm Beach County Business magazine is recognized as the quarterly business portrait showcasing local influencers and news in the county. Each quarter CareerSource Palm Beach County participates and this feature focuses on our Professional Placement Network (PPN) and Nicole Kustara, a graduate of the program. View the digital version by following the link on pages 23 & 24.