West Palm Beach, Fla. (June 18, 2021) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for May announced today is 4.6 percent -- below both the 5.5 percent national rate and Florida’s 5.0 percent rate for the ninth consecutive month – and the lowest point since March 2020, 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). May’s rate also dropped 9.7 percent below the year-ago rate of 14.3 percent.
Total nonagricultural employment in Palm Beach County is 619,700, adding 49,200 jobs over the year. The county’s labor force also increased over the year to 747,344, up 39,635 or 5.6 percent from May 2020, which means more people are working or looking for work. The unemployment rate is a measure of how many people in the labor force are out of a job. For example, if total employment holds constant and unemployed Americans stop looking for work, thereby leaving the labor force, the unemployment rate will fall even though no jobs have been added. Conversely, if employment holds steady and recent graduates enter the labor force looking for work, the unemployment rate will rise even though no jobs have disappeared.
Other improvements include:
- Almost all of the number of jobs in the county have been recovered since the period of highest unemployment in 2020. Employment and economic growth are being driven by increased consumer spending, falling COVID cases and expanded vaccine rollout.
- Hourly wage rates have been increasing. From May 1, 2020 to June 1, 2021 CareerSource achieved job placements with average hourly wages of $14 (up from $9 - $11 previously). The maximum was $60 per hour and the minimum was $6.29 (mostly jobs with tips such as hospitality positions).
- For more than a year, the county’s unemployment rate stayed below other major state markets, including Miami-Dade County, Broward County and the Greater Orlando area. These areas with large numbers of theme parks, cruise ships and international flight traffic have taken the longest time to recover.
- The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB) continues to facilitate corporate relocations to, and expansions in, the county. The BDB has assisted in bringing 15 companies to the area over the year and continues to announce new projects with hundreds of jobs in the pipeline.
“This is the second month of over-the-year job gains in all but one industry sector,” said Julia Dattolo, President and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County. “Employers in all sectors are reporting that they are challenged in hiring the talent they need even though several are offering salary and benefits incentives, hiring bonuses and even payments for job interviews.”
Job growth by industry sector: On a percentage basis, job gains in May were led by the leisure/hospitality sector with 33.4 percent over-the-year job growth, besting a statewide gain of 30.1 percent in that sector. Palm Beach County had the second fastest annual job growth in the trade/transportation/utilities sector and the second-highest job growth in information.
By the numbers, over-the-year job gains/losses in Palm Beach County were:
Industry Change Total jobs
Leisure/hospitality +20,300 jobs 81,100
Trade/transportation/utilities +9,000 jobs 112,500
Professional/business services +7,600 jobs 117,800
Education/health services +7,100 jobs 105,600
Other services +3,000 jobs 31,000
Financial activities +1,400 jobs 43,700
Construction +1,100 jobs 37,700
Manufacturing +900 jobs 19,900
Information +500 jobs 9,600
Government -1,700 jobs 60,600
Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate reached 14.7 percent in April 2020. The record-low unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in Dec. 2019.
DEO Reinstates Work Search, Registration Requirements for Jobless Benefits
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s waiver for work search and registration requirements to obtain jobless benefits expired on May 29, 2021. Claimants must submit work searches for every week of state or federal benefits requested. Additionally, new claimants must complete the work registration through the online Employ Florida state jobs database. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding the work search and work registration requirements, click here.
In addition, Florida will end its participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, the $300 per week supplemental FPUC payment, effective June 26, 2021, as part of DEO’s ‘Return to Work’ initiative.
Through the ‘Return to Work’ initiative, DEO is also encouraging Floridians who are interested in learning a new career path or need assistance looking for employment, to turn to CareerSource Florida or their local CareerSource Center for assistance. They can help job seekers explore new employment opportunities, provide workforce and job-training skills, and provide career advancement assistance. More information is available at the CareerSource Palm Beach County home page at: www.careersourcepbc.com.
No-Cost Virtual Job Fairs Coming Up!
CareerSource Palm Beach County has scheduled the following virtual job fairs:
- June 23 – Advanced Manufacturing
- July 21 – Protective Services/Security
More information about these events will be available on www.careersourcepbc.com. CareerSource held 20 virtual hiring events since March 2020 to help connect hundreds of job seekers with 300 area employers.
CareerSource Palm Beach County Recognized with National Award
The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) announced CareerSource Palm Beach County as the winner of the WIOA (Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) Trailblazer Award. The award will be presented at NAWB’s Forum 2021 in Washington, D.C. next week.
CareerSource Palm Beach County was selected out of a large pool of nominations for the national Trailblazer Award, which recognizes a workforce development board that has been a leader in implementing the system changes envisioned in the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and expanding its ability to develop comprehensive workforce solutions for its community.
“No matter the challenge, our CareerSource Palm Beach County team has always kept its focus on providing the best possible service to the job seekers and employers of Palm Beach County. We are incredibly humbled that our achievements arising from that focus have been nationally recognized,” said CareerSource Palm Beach County President and CEO Julia Dattolo. “It is a distinct honor in achieving this top award among more than 500 workforce boards nationwide, particularly for this past year in responding to challenges from the pandemic.”
Looking for a New Career? Here’s Help!
CareerSource offers classes and facilities for job searches, grants for job skills training for those who qualify, career development and consulting – at no cost to you! During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted more than 71,500 residents find employment ranging from entry-level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $1.4 billion in annual wages. CareerSource also awarded $12.2 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance during that time. More information is at www.careersourcepbc.com.
CareerSource also provides services to help rebuild and sustain businesses in today’s challenging marketplace. CareerSource absorbs the cost of most of these services including recruitment, assessments and referrals of qualified job candidates; space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates; and grants for training employees.
Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for June 2021 are scheduled for release on July 16.
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.