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Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.2 Percent from 3.5 Percent Year Ago; More Job Openings Than Unemployed for Fifth Consecutive Month

Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for March dropped to 3.2 percent from 3.5 percent a year ago – among the lowest rates in nearly 30 years – and below 3.4 percent for Feb. 2019. In addition, for the fifth consecutive month, there are more job openings in Palm Beach County than unemployed people – 30,373 job openings in the county in March vs. 23,867 unemployed people, 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).

West Palm Beach, Fla. (April 19, 2019) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for March dropped to 3.2 percent from 3.5 percent a year ago – among the lowest rates in nearly 30 years – and below 3.4 percent for Feb. 2019.  In addition, for the fifth consecutive month, there are more job openings in Palm Beach County than unemployed people – 30,373 job openings in the county in March vs. 23,867 unemployed people, 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 2019 is the fifth time that the number of open jobs exceeded the number of unemployed people in records going back to 2005. Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for March also fell below the state’s 3.3 percent rate and the 3.9 percent national rate, continuing a 26-month streak where the county’s rate has stayed below or matched the national rate.

“Palm Beach County gained nearly 16,000 jobs over the year and the county’s unemployment rate has remained at or below 4 percent for 18 months,” said Steve Craig, president and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County. “The county’s labor force also continues to grow, adding more than 7,200 people in March.”

Job growth by industry sector: On a percentage basis, job gains in March were led by the professional/business services sector with 5.6 percent over-the-year job growth, besting a 3.8 percent increase statewide.

The number of jobs in five sectors – professional/business services, construction, manufacturing, financial activities, and government – grew faster than statewide over the year.

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

Industry                                                               Change

Professional/business services                          +6,400 jobs

Education/health services                                 +3,100 jobs

Financial activities                                           +1,800 jobs

Construction                                                     +1,700 jobs

Trade/transportation/utilities                            +1,600 jobs

Government                                                      +1,300 jobs

Leisure/hospitality                                           +1,100 jobs

Manufacturing                                                  +900 jobs

Information                                                        -800 jobs

Other services                                                   -1,200 jobs

Top 8 most advertised jobs available: The Conference Board produces a monthly report of real-time labor demand captured through job advertisements. The latest report shows that there were advertisements for 30,373 full-time and part-time jobs in Palm Beach County in March. The top 8 most advertised jobs in the county are for:

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Retail salespeople
  3. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
  4. Customer service representatives
  5. First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers
  6. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
  7. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers
  8. Accountants

Major funding announcement for Palm Beach County Communities: President and CEO Steve Craig is announcing funding for two important initiatives to greatly benefit communities throughout Palm Beach County.

The first of these is awarding an additional $100,000 to The Lord’s Place to increase the scope of services they provide to homeless ex-offenders and other men and women experiencing homelessness.

This new funding is in addition to $200,000 already awarded by CareerSource this program year to fund these services.

“CareerSource Palm Beach County has provided a total of $2 million in funding to The Lord’s Place over the past 10 years to help end the cycle of homelessness and unemployment. The Lord’s Place has an outstanding track record of providing intensive services to CareerSource homeless participants and we look forward to working with them to expand these efforts,” Mr. Craig said.

With these additional funds, The Lord’s Place will add 20 additional participants to their program, enroll 14 more participants into their employability skills training, and help 25 participants obtain unsubsidized employment.

The second initiative provides funding for new and expanded apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in high-demand industry sectors in the county. Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced the distribution of $1.75 million to help Floridians acquire skills needed for in-demand occupations through new and expanded apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in industry sectors that are vital to the state’s economy.  CareerSource Palm Beach County is receiving $300,000 of this funding to provide pre-apprenticeship programs in the marine and aerospace sectors in collaboration with the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, the Marine Industry Association of Treasure Coast, and CareerSource Brevard.

“The marine industry alone employs more than 20,000 people and is growing at a rate where there are more positions than there are skilled workers to fill them,” Mr. Craig said.

CareerSource also is prioritizing new and expanded apprenticeships in the high-demand fields of healthcare, construction, and hospitality.

Whatever career you would like to pursue, the staff at CareerSource offers classes and facilities for job searches, grants for job skills training for those who qualify, career development and consulting. During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted more than 92,000 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $2.1 billion in annual wages. CareerSource also awarded $13 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance during that time.  

Services for employers: CareerSource provides a comprehensive package of services to help businesses compete 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. 

Services for career seekers: Our career centers in West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and Belle Glade offer classes and facilities for job search, career development and consulting; and grants for job skills training – all at no cost. Schedules of workshops and employer hiring events are posted at www.careersourcepbc.com. From this same home page, you also will find our mobile-friendly Virtual Career System with online tools and resources to access our programs and services 24/7.

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for April 2019 are scheduled for release on May 17.

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Note to editors: You are invited to interview a CareerSource spokesperson on local employment and economic trends, and/or career seekers at our Central Career Center in West Palm Beach. Please call 561.340.1061 ext. 2224 before 3:00 p.m. today for scheduling.