Throughout most of our region’s history, there has been a traditional slowdown in employment during the summer season. With 29 straight months of solid job growth in Palm Beach County, that trend is history!
In addition, our unemployment rate for April 2023 is the second lowest on record – 2.3%. The county’s rate has remained below the nation’s for more than two years and stayed at or below 3.0 percent for 14 months.
And there’s more -- of the 51 U.S. metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area was among the top three lowest jobless rates in March 2023.
Our resilient labor market is largely due to our growing and diversified economy. This can be illustrated by the top gross regional product rankings in our county:
||# of jobs
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
As an employer, I’m sure you’ve been challenged with hiring in this competitive marketplace. The statistics bear this out -- for more than 20 months, there have been more job openings than unemployed people in Palm Beach County. In April 2023, our most recent statistics show there are more than two jobs available for every unemployed person.
Our Business Services staff can help your business prosper in today’s challenging marketplace with recruitment, assessments, and referrals of qualified job candidates; space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates; and grants for training employees.
One of the most popular ways we’ve been helping employers is by hosting Virtual Job Fairs, some of these in collaboration with our CareerSource partners in the surrounding five-county area. Check out our website for scheduled hiring events that your business can participate in to interview, screen and hire qualified candidates to fill your job openings – at no cost to you!
This month brings graduation events for thousands of Palm Beach County college and high school seniors. Don’t overlook this source for new talent in your organization.
Don’t forget that our Business Services staff connects employers with qualified candidates at all levels. They can be contacted at www.careersourcepbc.com or call 561.340.1060 and select option 3. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you!
The Post-Pandemic Labor Force
With local job openings in April at over 36K, and not enough job seekers to fill them (reported at 17K in Apr), 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 April, total nonagricultural employment in the county is 680,200 adding 10,700 jobs over the year, a 1.6% gain. The biggest increase in local employment over the year was in the Leisure/hospitality sector at 4.9% (+4,500) compared over the year to April 2022.
Has the labor force recovered to where we thought it would be in the absence of the pandemic?
We find the national labor force is about 900,000 people smaller than expected, primarily because of deaths related to COVID-19, low birth rates, and reduced immigration. We find that, after adjusting for changes in the composition of the population, the motivation for people to work in the labor force has recovered, so that is no longer a drag on the labor force relative to what might have been expected in absence of the pandemic.
Because the current smaller-than-expected labor force is attributable to lower population growth and not to weakness in the desire to work, the capacity of businesses to produce goods and services on the national stage is more likely to be lower than otherwise because of this effect for years to come.
So yes, the national numbers have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, but our local labor force (those working or looking for work) in Palm Beach County has fully recovered from the effects of the pandemic. As of April 2019, our local labor force was 733,679 persons, in April 2023 the local labor force is 775,034 an increase of 41,355.
Three years ago, a global pandemic triggered a so-called “she-cession,” as millions of women lost their jobs or left the workforce to care for loved ones. Now, they’re leading the recovery back into the workforce.
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% in April, surpassing a peak reached in 2000, according to government data going back to the 1940s.
The milestone marks a surprisingly fast reversal from the depths of the Covid-19 crisis, which had undone years of progress in women’s workforce participation. The bounce-back reflects everything from the rise of remote work to long-term trends such as more women getting college degrees. But more than anything, it is driven by economic conditions: The US job market is strong, lifting participation for a variety of groups, and persistent inflation has pressured families to find ways to offset soaring costs.
Who's still missing from the post-pandemic labor force?
Since 2020, while nearly every industry has seen exceptional job growth, those with particularly high job openings relative to hires are generally the industries that disproportionately employ the demographic groups that have increased Labor Force Participation Rate the most.
For example, women are disproportionately represented in health care and social assistance, where job openings in health care and social assistance were significantly above 2019 levels. Nationally men are disproportionately represented in construction, which has not seen increases to the same extent in openings relative to hires and indeed job openings in this industry have been falling in recent months. This is not the case in Palm Beach County and Southwest Florida where construction has been booming.
Some of the strains in the economy today likely stem from the trends in the labor force highlighted here. Even as aggregate spending has long since recovered to what could have been expected in the absence of the pandemic, the growth of the labor force has not. As a result, the U.S. economy is constrained in its ability to meet current demand, this being another driver for inflation.
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.
The CareerSource Palm Beach County Talent Solutions team can help your company hire, train, and retain a skilled workforce with a variety of no-cost resources.
- Qualified Candidate Referrals
- Screen/Interview Candidates
- Staffing Strategies
- Hiring Events
- Capital for Training
STRATEGIZE Develop a strategic plan of action with your point of contact, receive Labor Market Information (LMI), trends on wages, candidate pool, and more.
SCREEN CANDIDATES Find and review candidates' resumes, pre-screen candidates by phone or in person, coordinate pre-employment requirements and applications.
HIRING EVENTS Facilitate hiring events at our local career centers and participate in multi-industry and county-wide job fairs to find qualified and emerging talent.
CAPITAL FOR TALENT TRAINING We work one-on-one with your business to identify training funds that will help you upskill your current workforce or train new hires.
Connect with one of our Talent Solution team members to receive the expert assistance your business needs. Our recruiters are dedicated to understanding your unique requirements and providing tailored solutions that will drive your success.
Click here to schedule an appointment.
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 Building the Workforce 'Ecosystem' and Funding Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs Today on pages 19 and 20.