As we begin the holiday season, it’s gratifying to note that job seekers and employers are enjoying one of the best job markets in our county’s history.
Our local job market remains strong with Palm Beach County outperforming the nation for more than two years as well as outperforming the state many times during that period. The county’s unemployment rate has stayed at or below 3% for nine consecutive months this year. In fact, total employment has exceeded the pre-Covid peak every month since February! More about our local employment and economic outlook appears in this issue.
Adding to this healthy outlook are predictions for a strong tourism season in Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach County tourism development council reports that hotel bed tax collections rose 106% in December 2021 compared to the prior year. While the effects of inflation are very real, prospects are bright for travel/tourism to do even better this winter.
It’s no wonder that, for more than a year, the leisure/hospitality industry sector has led the county in over-the-year job growth – adding 11,600 jobs for a 13.9 percent jump. More than 95,000 people work in this industry!
The need for qualified talent isn’t confined to just the leisure/hospitality sector. Our staff is busier than ever assisting employers in all industries who are finding it very challenging to hire the talent they need. Our efforts to assist employers include:
- Awarding grants for job training and educational assistance.
- Expanding online virtual job fairs and hiring events connecting thousands of job seekers with employers. This program year we hosted/participated in nearly 300 in-person and virtual job fairs/hiring events.
- Offering no-cost services including recruitment, assessments and referrals of qualified job candidates along with space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates.
Our holiday gift to you -- let us help your organization with your hiring needs! Begin by accessing Business Services at our website: www.careersourcepbc.com where you can also contact any of our account managers to serve you.
Best wishes for a safe, prosperous and happy holiday season!
The October unemployment rate for Palm Beach County is now 2.7%, which matched the state rate at 2.7% and lower than the nation at 3.4% (all numbers not seasonally adjusted). This is a positive local job recovery with 35,641 open jobs, compared to 20,681 unemployed residents.
With over 35,000 local job openings in October, and not enough job seekers to fill them (reported at 20K in Oct), economists say that even more money and flexibility will not stop record turnover of the currently employed for better opportunities (Quit Rate).
The local labor force was over 775K in October, total nonagricultural employment in the county is 676,600 adding 30,600 jobs over the year, a 4.7% gain. The biggest October local employment increases over the year were in the Leisure/hospitality sector (+11,600) and Education and Health Services (6,900) compared to October of 2021.
Do we have the local workers to support increased local economic growth?
These are local and national labor market trends we see as concerns on the horizon:
- Record retirements and thousands of unfilled local job openings are making it hard for our economy to function and grow.
- Declining birth rates in the United States exaggerate these concerns.
- The labor shortage is most pronounced in skilled trades (a broad set of careers in industries like agriculture, construction, logistics, manufacturing, maintenance, retail and wholesale trade, and protective services). Some 60% of all openings today are in these areas and they do not require a 4-year degree.
- While awareness of the skilled trades and state college based CTE programs that help students prepare for them has grown, most high school students plan to go the 4-year degree route, which means that today’s high school and college-age students (16-19) have largely tuned out the trades.
- With a large percentage of high school students planning to go to college, the big question is, who will be left to do the non-4-year degree work essential to keep our society functioning?
What do the numbers tell us about our labor market and economic growth?
1. The mass exodus of baby boomers: 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 despite the economic pressure of increased inflation (see chart below).
2. Lowest birth rates since the decade after the Great Depression: 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.
To understand what the declining birth rate represents, let’s translate it into raw numbers. By simply maintaining the 2007 birth rate through 2020, the US population would have added roughly 7.6 million more people. Although the total population grew from 301.6 million to 330.5 million during that same time, the under-20 segment of the population fell by 1.6 million people—dropping from 27% of the total population in 2007 to just 25% in 2020. This younger group represents the future of the labor force, and it’s shrinking. Over the next 10 to 20 years, this population shortfall will present an even more significant challenge to enrollment and recruitment efforts unless those numbers are offset from elsewhere. Labor force comes from two places, U.S. birth rate or immigration.
3. Currently the unemployment rates of those in construction/extraction, installation/maintenance/repair, and production (three categories dominated by the skilled trades) are near historical lows, and the talent pool for the trades appears to have dried up. Anyone and everyone who could be working in the millions of vital skilled-trade jobs, already are. The trades provide core and vital services in everyday life, and we immediately feel it when there is a shortage of skilled workers. FedEx just reported that its business model is unsustainable due to a lack of drivers and local contractors to fulfill the massive demand the firm is experiencing. In contrast, if a large tech company is not able to find an additional coder, or if a cellphone giant has a hard time finding market researchers, that effect is normally not felt by consumers in day-to-day life, if ever. But when a company that provides key repair, maintenance, retail, production, or logistics functions can’t fill their openings, we all feel it.
4. In today’s average family, both parents work and there are fewer than two children. There is also a far greater tendency for these children to live at home without working. Some 52% of 18- to 29-year-olds live with their parents and may not be as eager to shoulder their own financial burdens. Back in the late 90s, the labor force participation rate for teenagers was 42%, and by 2014, that rate had crashed to 26%. On a more positive note for employers, the teenage labor force participation rate has rebounded to 33%. But there is still a large deficit, and employers that depend on high school and college-age students have record numbers of open positions.
5. If you have a child graduating high school, will they pursue a 4-year degree? The “college or bust” mentality has led to a sharp decline in the teenage labor force. As wealth has increased and family size has decreased, parents have been able to pay or borrow for their child’s advanced education, so they don’t have to work. Generally, that has been a good thing. But the trend for all students to attend 4-year schools is taking a toll on a large part of the economy. By contrast, the typical Baby Boomer grew up in a household with three or four siblings, and families often didn’t have the money to pay for all of the kids to go to college or to just sit at home. Teenagers had to work and even move out of the house at relatively young ages. As a result, industries like construction, maintenance, manufacturing, agriculture, retail, logistics, and hospitality (which often employ younger, less experienced workers) had a regular supply of talent. When we look at both the previous chart and the chart below, you will clearly see a correlation between the drop 16-19 labor force participation rate and the increase in college enrolment in the same decade, between 2000 and 2010.
This regional outlook explains why we at CareerSource Palm Beach County are focusing our efforts to find and support those in need of workforce training, or those in need of industry required skill upgrades.
See our website www.careersourcepbc.com for more information on our grants programs for your business that support these efforts.
Christopher Cothran, NextEra Energy Resources executive, was appointed Board Chair at the Oct. 20th meeting of the board of directors of CareerSource Palm Beach County. 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, will serve as Board Secretary. Mr. Cothran follows David Talley, who has served as board chair since Oct. 2018, the maximum term allowed by the organization’s bylaws. The appointments are effective immediately.
“We are pleased that these dedicated business and community leaders have accepted these roles. Their backgrounds in business, legal and nonprofit settings will be of exceptional value to the organization and its mission as we take on the challenges ahead," said Julia Dattolo, President and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County.
A longtime resident of Palm Beach County, Mr. Cothran is passionate about ensuring that Palm Beach County has a trained workforce that is ready to take on the challenges the future will bring.
“As more people have moved to our great county, I believe that it is important for the county, our communities, and our businesses to work together to ensure that everyone willing and able to work has access to the resources they need to match their talents and passion with a job that can grow into a rewarding career,” he said.
Can your business use a young adult intern for up to 12 weeks – all paid for by CareerSource Palm Beach County?
Our Young Adult Internship Program provides meaningful work experience and mentoring to youth and young adults ages 16 - 24 who have little to no work experience. They will get the opportunity to learn about a profession. Employers commit to providing a meaningful work experience and the necessary training for the intern to ensure their success in the internship.
Not-for-profit, private, and public organizations in all industries can participate, and all at no-cost to employers. Interns are carefully matched with worksites based on their skills, interests, abilities, and career goals, as well as based on the employer’s needs/preferences. Other factors considered include worksite location, transportation needs, and other barriers.
Interns are paid $12 per hour and the State of Florida covers liability and workers compensation.
What’s not to like? Applying is easy at our website www.careersourcepbc.com (click on Youth Services on the homepage) or call us at 561-340- 1060 x. 2141. We’ll discuss what your business/organization does and the types of jobs available for the young adults. A site visit and MOU are required upon approval, as well as an orientation. CareerSource PBC representatives will conduct site visits periodically to evaluate the intern’s skills, their progress, and any workplace issues. Visits are scheduled with employers at mutually convenient times during work hours.
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 issue focuses on how CareerSource Palm Beach County helped Demetra Jenkins secure employment with the School District of Palm Beach County and about how CareerSource Palm Beach County's Professional Placement Network preps candidates for their next job. View the digital version by following the link.