Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.8 Percent -- Below State, National Rates for Five Consecutive Months

West Palm Beach, Fla. (March 15, 2021) – This year is starting off strong for job seekers – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for January announced today is 4.8 percent -- below both the 6.8 percent national rate and Florida’s 5.3 percent rate for the fifth consecutive month, 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). Total nonagricultural employment in Palm Beach County increased to 613,700 in Jan. 2021 from 610,100 in Dec. 2020.

More good news:

  • Nearly 65 percent of the jobs in the county have been recovered since the period of highest unemployment in 2020.
  • There are now 2,118 job openings in Palm Beach County compared to less than 400 in April 2020.
  • The county’s unemployment rate has stayed below other major markets for nearly a year, 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) said they expect to announce new projects with thousands of jobs in the pipeline over the next few months.  Projects recently announced include FINFROCK (precast concrete manufacturer) creating more than 200 high-wage jobs over the next decade, AeroClean Technologies (air sterilization/disinfection devices) creating 100 new jobs, SIW Solutions (door and window manufacturing) representing 250 jobs, and initiatives to attract major financial services companies to the county. 

“We are seeing employment and economic growth due to extended federal relief, increased consumer spending, falling COVID cases and expanded vaccine rollout,” 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. 

There were job gains from the previous month in three of the top five key industry sectors. Among those key industry sectors in Palm Beach County, the Professional and Business Services sector had the most job gains -- +7,400 jobs.  Jobs in the Professional and Business Services sector also grew faster in the county than statewide over the year at +3.0 percent. 

Professional and business services

  • Employment: 118,500 
  • Jobs gained Dec. to Jan.: +7,400
  • Jobs gained over year: +3,400


  • Employment: 113,500
  • Jobs lost Dec. to Jan.: -1,100
  • Jobs lost over year: -6,000

Education and health services

  • Employment: 101,900
  • Jobs gained Dec. to Jan.: +1,600
  • Jobs lost over year: -5,400

Leisure and hospitality

  • Employment: 79,700 
  • Jobs gained Dec. to Jan.: +3,100
  • Jobs lost over year: -14,700


  • Employment: 60,700
  • Jobs lost Dec. to Jan.: -3,300
  • Jobs lost over year: -7,000
  • The county’s year-ago unemployment rate for January was 3.6 percent and the total number of jobs in the county dropped by 35,400 compared to a year ago. Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate reached 14.2 percent in April 2020.  The record-low unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in Dec. 2019.

No-Cost Virtual Job Fairs Coming Up!

CareerSource Palm Beach County has scheduled the following virtual job fairs: 

  • March 17 -- Aviation/Marine/Engineering/Environmental/Architecture
  • April 7 – Healthcare/Life Sciences/Pharmaceutical/Medical
  • May 19 – Technology/Telecom
  • June 23 – Advanced Manufacturing
  • July 21 – Protective Services/Security

More information about these events will be available on  CareerSource held 12 virtual hiring events since March 2020 to help connect hundreds of job seekers with more than 200 area employers. 

Women in the Workforce Webinar March 24 

Three leading national and state speakers will be featured at CareerSource Palm Beach County’s quarterly State of the Workforce webinar on March 24 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST:

  • Ashley Wilson, Vice President, Congressional & Public Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Liz Wilke, Tech Policy & Future of Work Researcher, LinkedIn
  • Kathryn Hebda, Florida College System Chancellor, Florida Dept. of Education

Topics will include the changing nature of technology and its impact on employment; upskilling, reskilling and becoming more marketable in the current economy; your network and your net worth.

There is no cost to attend but advance registration is required. 

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

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 Feb. 2021 are scheduled for release on March 26. At the beginning of each year, there is a lag in reporting Jan. and Feb. employment data as the government recalibrates historical data factoring in new population inputs and revisions to economic data, creating changes in the original statistics. 


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.