Palm Beach County Unemployment for May is 14.1 Percent, Drops Slightly from Record 14.2 Percent in April

West Palm Beach, Fla. (June 19, 2020) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for May fell slightly to 14.1 percent, a month after reaching a record high of 14.2 percent. The year-ago rate for May was 3.1 percent, according to the latest monthly reports released today by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (all numbers not seasonally adjusted).

One of the few bright spots – the county’s rate fell below the state’s 14.3 percent rate. However, the national rate of 13.0 percent ended a more than 3-year streak in which the county’s rate had stayed below or matched the national rate. Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s previous highest unemployment rate reached nearly 12 percent during the so-called Great Recession in summer 2010. The county’s record low unemployment rate -- 2.7 percent – is a very distant memory although it occurred just five months earlier.

Other measures of improvement in the county:

  • Total non-agricultural employment in Palm Beach County increased to 569,900 in May from 551,900 in April.
  • Labor force in the county increased to 682,852 in May up from 653,719 in April. This measure indicates that there are more people working and looking for work compared to last month.
  • Job orders at CareerSource Palm Beach County increased to nearly 2,700 in May compared to less than 400 in April.
  • The rate of those filing for unemployment benefits is slowing. Today’s reports show 118,000 unemployment/reemployment assistance claims applicants from Palm Beach County and more than 1.4 million applicants processed statewide by the Florida Dept. of Economic Opportunity to date out of more than 2.5 million submitted claims since March 15.

“We are cautiously optimistic with the slight improvement following one of the worst months in labor market history,” said Julia Dattolo, interim president and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.   

Virtual Career Expo June 25: CareerSource Palm Beach County is holding a Virtual Career Expo on Thursday, June 25 in partnership with Palm Beach Tech help connect job seekers with employers that have immediate hiring needs. Participants can connect with tech talent and hiring managers LIVE and apply for open positions. More information is available at:

“More than 8,800 job seekers engaged with 26 employers in our first Virtual Career Expo in April. 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 Ms. Dattolo.

Employer Services: As businesses across our region reopen, CareerSource is very much engaged in preparing job seekers for new opportunities and helping businesses find the talent they need to reopen and thrive. The CareerSource Business Services staff connects employers with qualified candidates – at no cost. They can be contacted at or call 561.340.1060 and select option 3.

West Palm Beach and Belle Glade Career Centers Reopen: CareerSource Palm Beach County has reopened its West Palm Beach Career Center at 3400 Belvedere Road and Belle Glade Career Center at 1085 South Main St. to provide limited services in person. Staff members also are continuing to serve customers remotely via emails, online and phone communications as well as website and social media channels.

During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted 80,500 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $1.85 billion in annual wages. CareerSource also awarded $23 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance during that time.  

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for June are scheduled for release on July 17.  


Note to editors: You are invited to interview a CareerSource spokesperson on local employment and economic trends before 3:30 p.m. today. Please call 561.340.1061 ext. 2229 for scheduling.