Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Business Solutions 1st Quarter 2024

Business Solutions 1st Quarter 2024

CEO Message 1st Quarter 2024 Business Solutions

It’s a great pleasure of mine to meet with so many employers at various business, community, and chamber events. I appreciate answering their questions and I thought you might be interested in my responses to the top five questions I often receive:

1. What is our unemployment rate and how does it compare to the state and nation?

The current unemployment rate for Palm Beach County is 3.0 percent, just above Florida’s 2.9 percent rate and below the national rate of 3.5 percent (below the nation’s for more than three years), all numbers not seasonally adjusted. For more than two years, we have had more job openings than unemployed people in our county. Comparing all 67 Florida counties, Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate is currently lower than 41 other Florida counties. In 2023, Palm Beach County set three record highs in the number of employed people!

2. How does CareerSource Palm Beach County ensure that workforce development programs align with the current and future needs of industries in our area?

Our labor market research and analysis team is part of a network of local businesses, chambers, economic and business development agencies, and education institutions. As such we produce a local targeted occupation list annually of in-demand high-skill high wage occupations and entry-level career pathway occupations. This research drives our efforts with educational institutions to provide a strong local jobs pipeline to meet the needs of the local business community.  

3. In your experience, what are the most significant skills gaps in our local job market, and how is CareerSource addressing these gaps?

The skilled workforce of tomorrow is currently in the education pipeline, but employer’s current workforce needs can only be satisfied by up-skilling residents who have yet to realize their full potential in the workforce. We listen to the needs of local employers and it is very clear that the lack of soft skills is the biggest challenge to hiring workers. More than 3 in 5 professionals say that soft skills in the workplace are just as important as hard skills. Employers acknowledged that, with those skills on board, potential employees could be trained on the technical aspects of the job by the employers. We now see communications found in 35 percent of all online job postings, but only found in 5 percent of job seeker resumes. Actions we have taken to close the skills gap include providing scholarships to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance (we awarded nearly $12 million in scholarships over the past 5 years).

4. How is CareerSource Palm Beach County preparing the workforce for the increasing integration of technology and automation in various industries?

There is an increasing need for the use of technology and automation in nearly every industry sector. Demand for these ever-changing hard or technical skills continues to grow. As an example, if we look at the top 10 in-demand IT skills from 2015 as compared to today, we find seven new IT skills in the top 10. Fortunately, Palm Beach County ranks high in this area. Lightcast’s 2023 Talent Attraction Scorecard ranks Florida as the #1 state in the nation for attracting and developing a talented workforce for the second year in a row. Out of more than 600 large counties nationwide, Lightcast ranked Palm Beach County 23rd overall.

5. How do you help organizations recruit qualified talent?

Our Business Services team of professionals helps organizations of all sizes with recruiting, assessments, and referrals of qualified job candidates. We also offer space and staff assistance for screenings and interviewing candidates and provide grants for training employees. You can find more information about these services at CareerSource Palm Beach County > Employers > Business Services (

 I’m always happy to answer any other questions you may have, and we look forward to serving you more in 2024!

Your National Economic Outlook

The January national jobs report is the first of 2024, and job gains smashed all expectations. Despite a recent uptick in layoffs, the unemployment rate remains near historic lows. Wage growth increased to the highest level since September 2023, signs the labor market was hotter than we thought in January.

January's report kicks off 2024 with a bang. A theme toward the end of 2023 was that job growth has been concentrated in just a few industries. This month's report shows widespread growth, which is a welcome sign for job seekers and businesses alike.

It's not Groundhog Day for the jobs report!

February 2nd may have been Groundhog Day, but not for this jobs report.

Over the past several months we settled into a pattern - job gains exceeded expectations, but previous months' totals are always revised downward. That's not what happened this month.

Businesses added 353,000 new jobs in January, beating projections of around 180,000. With more good news - job gains for November and December 2023 were revised upward not down by a total of 126,000 jobs. Those revisions bring 2023 job gains to over 3 million, the highest since 1999 (excluding pandemic recovery numbers for 2021 and 2022).

With just one month of data available, it's hard to proclaim a trend is emerging for 2024; but another bright spot in January's jobs report is related to the industries. Over the past several months, job gains have been concentrated in just a few industries - Government, Healthcare, and Leisure and Hospitality. In January, more sectors added jobs including Professional and Business Services, which suffered job losses in the second half of 2023.

Job Gains

The 353,000 new jobs added nationally in January, combined with upward revisions, suggests the labor market may be hotter than we thought.

January's job gains exceeded expectations, but that number could be partially the result of seasonal patterns disrupted by the pandemic. Even if there are substantial downward revisions, job gains were strong in January. Nationally we saw a similar pattern in 2023 with job gains near 500K in January before settling into the 230K range for the remainder of the year.


Throughout the second half of 2023, job gains were concentrated in just a few industries. January's jobs report shows a more widespread growth with nearly eight in ten industries, and subsectors adding jobs last month.

The best news is that Professional and Business Services added 74K jobs in January, the most of any industry following a sluggish 2023. And even better news for recruiters - the temporary employment and staffing subsector added jobs for the first time in nearly two years.

National Unemployment Rate

The national unemployment rate has held steady at 3.7%, marking two consecutive years with a national unemployment rate below 4%.

Once again, we see some high-profile layoffs and hiring freezes in the tech industry. Strong demand from other sectors means job seekers may need to look to other industries for new opportunities, and businesses that are hiring can look to the tech industry for much-needed talent. The surge in layoffs within the tech industry, despite improved economic conditions, is primarily driven by a trend of cost-cutting measures aimed at pleasing investors and bolstering stock prices, with some smaller startups facing financial constraints and larger firms following a pattern of "copycat layoffs" to maintain competitiveness.

Wages and Compensation

Wage growth grew more than expected in January. Average hourly earnings grew by 4.5% over the past 12 months, up from 4.1% in December. An increase in wages is good news for workers, businesses will need to keep an eye on this number to ensure compensation is competitive to attract and retain talent.

For those watching what the Fed will do with interest rates, stronger-than-expected job and wage growth likely point to fewer, and more delays in interest rate reductions in 2024.

Your Local Economic Outlook will return as part of our second quarter Business Solutions Newsletter.

Education and Industry Consortium Addresses Health Care Worker Shortage

A new Florida law requires each regional workforce development board to create an Education and Industry Consortium composed of representatives of educational entities and businesses in their service delivery area.​ CareerSource Palm Beach County was the first region to convene its Education and Industry Consortium ​of the Palm Beaches in January where members discussed solutions to help resolve the healthcare worker shortage.WPTV

"Healthcare has a critical shortage across the state, not just Palm Beach County,” said CareerSource Palm Beach County President/CEO Julia Dattolo.

It’s the reason CareerSource Palm Beach County pulled leaders from local hospitals and all levels of education into one room, trying to solve the medical worker shortage.

"The baby boomers have left the building," Ms. Dattolo said. "All those nurses, and ancillary staff that have staffed hospitals aged out rapidly from the system and COVID-19 accelerated it. We need to develop that talent and fill the talent pipeline for them.”

The education/health services industry sector leads the county in over-the-year job growth, adding nearly 4,000 jobs for a total of 113,000 workers in the sector countywide. The sector also grew faster in the county than statewide over the year.

Participants noted the available healthcare talent in local schools. They discussed ways to keep them local by finding them employment immediately upon graduation, pledging to work together to find those interested in healthcare fields when they’re young, and feed them career opportunities early.

Ms. Dattolo noted that CareerSource Florida is helping to address this need, in part, through a new Florida Healthcare Training Initiative. In June, the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors approved $2.75 million for the Florida Healthcare Training Initiative. The initiative is helping to remove barriers to enrollment in healthcare training and increase credential attainment in healthcare occupations with the greatest need, allowing more individuals to enter healthcare roles and receive support to continue career pathways in healthcare.

CareerSource Palm Beach County awarded nearly $12 million in grants for job training and educational assistance during the past five years.

Regional State of the Workforce Report Now Available

Our annual State of the Workforce Report is now available on our website at this link:

The report provides a complete picture of the characteristics of Palm Beach County’s workforce from the most in-demand jobs and workforce education and training to wages, employers, and key industry sectors. There also are sections on unemployment rate history, women in the workforce, and a five-year overview.

“This report provides a comprehensive look at who are residents and employers are, their needs, and the challenges they face now and in the future,” said President/CEO Julia Dattolo.

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 issue focuses on the connection between job seekers and companies such as Coca-Cola, emphasizing their collaboration with CareerSource Palm Beach County’s Local Veterans Employment Representatives who help veterans in finding employment opportunities.




Visiting Our Career Centers

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Central Career Center
3400 Belvedere Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

West Career Center 
1085 S Main St
Belle Glade, FL 33430