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

Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for March announced today is 4.7 percent -- below both the 6.2 percent national rate and Florida’s 5.3 percent rate for the seventh 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). March also marks the first time in a year that the county’s unemployment dropped below the year-ago rate which was 5.4 percent in March 2020.

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

West Palm Beach, Fla. (April 16, 2021) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for March announced today is 4.7 percent -- below both the 6.2 percent national rate and Florida’s 5.3 percent rate for the seventh 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). March also marks the first time in a year that the county’s unemployment dropped below the year-ago rate which was 5.4 percent in March 2020.

Total nonagricultural employment in Palm Beach County is 617,700, adding 4,300 jobs since February. The county’s labor force also increased from 727,766 in Feb. to 734,544 in March which means more people are working or looking for work.

Other improvements include:

  • 88 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 extended federal relief, increased consumer spending, falling COVID cases and expanded vaccine rollout.
  • Palm Beach County is approaching pre-pandemic employment levels – levels at which many economists consider to be full employment. Employers have informed us that they are having difficulty in hiring talent with some offering referral and signing bonuses to attract new employees.
  • For 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) expects to announce new projects with thousands of jobs in the pipeline over the next few months.  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, FINFROCK (precast concrete manufacturer) creating more than 200 high-wage jobs over the next decade, and initiatives to attract additional major financial services companies to the county.

“This is very good news for the nearly 618,000 working people and their families, with job gains in all of the top five key industry sectors indicating that recovery continues to build momentum,” 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.

Among the key industry sectors in Palm Beach County, the Education and Health Services sector had the most job gains – a whopping 3,100 new jobs over February. The Professional and Business Services sector gained 400 new jobs over the year. The top five sectors are:

Professional and business services

  • Employment: 116,800
  • Jobs gained Feb. to March: +100
  • Jobs gained over year: +400

Trade/transportation/utilities

  • Employment: 112,500
  • Jobs gained Feb. to March: +200
  • Jobs lost over year: -4,400

Education and health services

  • Employment: 104,200
  • Jobs gained Feb. to March: +3,100
  • Jobs lost over year: -3,900

Leisure and hospitality

  • Employment: 81,500
  • Jobs gained Feb. to March: +100
  • Jobs lost over year: -12,600

Government

  • Employment: 61,100
  • Jobs gained Feb. to March: +200
  • Jobs lost over year: -6,400

The total number of jobs in the county dropped by 30,800 compared to a year ago. Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate reached 14.1 percent in May 2020.  The record low unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in Dec. 2019.

 

The Job Market Has Changed – and Will Continue to Change

The post-pandemic job market will not look the same as it did before COVID. Practices we have become accustomed to -- working, shopping, dining and enjoying entertainment at home -- may have permanently changed the job market.

How the job market and economy fully recover depends on:

  • When customers feel confident enough to return in numbers to restaurants, bars, shops, theaters, sporting events and vacation travel.
  • How many people will continue to work from home, leaving commercial office space vacant.
  • To what extent business travel recovers now that workers have become accustomed to attending meetings and collaborating using video platforms.
  • The pace of vaccination rollouts.

 

No-Cost Virtual Job Fairs Coming Up!

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

  • May 19 – Technology/Telecom
  • June 23 – Advanced Manufacturing
  • July 21 – Protective Services/Security

More information about these events will be available on www.careersourcepbc.com.  CareerSource held 16 virtual hiring events since March 2020 to help connect hundreds of job seekers with more than 220 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 April 2021 are scheduled for release on May 21.

 

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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.