Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Steady at 4.7 Percent; Below State and National Rates for Eight Consecutive Months

West Palm Beach, Fla. (May 21, 2021) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for April announced today is 4.7 percent -- below both the 5.7 percent national rate and Florida’s 5.1 percent rate for the eighth 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).

April also marks the second time in a year that the county’s unemployment dropped below the year-ago rate which was a record high 14.7 percent in April 2020.

Total nonagricultural employment in Palm Beach County is 619,200, adding 74,400 jobs over the year. The county’s labor force also increased over the year to 739,543, up 58,793 from April 2020, which means more people are working or looking for work.

Other improvements include:

- 89 percent of the number of jobs in the county have been recovered since the period of highest unemployment in 2020 and the number of those working now is nearing the number of those working when the pandemic began. There is strong employment and economic growth being driven by increased consumer spending, falling COVID cases and expanded vaccine rollout.

- 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 announce new projects with hundreds of jobs in the pipeline.  Projects recently announced include Vetio Animal Health (North America’s largest animal health contract development and manufacturing organization) adding 40 employees by the end of 2022, NewDay USA (one of the nation’s leading veteran mortgage lenders) creating 600 new jobs with an average salary of $90,000, and initiatives to attract additional major financial services companies to the county. 

“For the first time in more than a year, there are 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. “Our staff has been busier than ever -- employers in all sectors are telling us that they are challenged in hiring the talent they need even though several of them 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 April were led by the leisure/hospitality sector with 60.8 percent over-the-year job growth, besting a statewide gain of 40.6 percent in that sector. 

By the numbers, over-the-year job gains/losses in Palm Beach County were:

Industry                                               Change

Leisure/hospitality                                +30,300 jobs

Professional/business services            +12,000 jobs

Trade/transportation/utilities                 +11,500 jobs 

Education/health services                     +10,800 jobs

Other services                                       +5,200 jobs

Construction                                          +2,200 jobs

Financial activities                                 +2,000 jobs

Manufacturing                                        +1,400 jobs

Information                                            +600 jobs

Government                                          -1,600 jobs

 

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 has announced that waiver for work search and registration requirements to obtain jobless benefits will expire on May 29, 2021. When the waiver expires, claimants must submit work searches for every week of state or federal benefits requested. Additionally, new claimants who file after the expiration of the waiver must complete the work registration through the online Employ Florida state jobs database. 

According to the DEO, an accurate work search record may include, but is not limited to, registering for work and reemployment services with a local CareerSource Center, completing a job application in person or online, mailing a job application or resume, making in-person visits with potential employers, interviewing with potential employers, or registering for work with employment or placement agencies. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the work search and work registration requirements, click here

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 17 virtual hiring events since March 2020 to help connect hundreds of job seekers with more than 250 area employers. 

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 May 2021 are scheduled for release on June 18. 

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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.