Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Ends 2018 at 3.3 Percent; More Job Openings Than Unemployed for Second Consecutive Month

West Palm Beach, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2019) – 2018 ended with among the lowest unemployment rates in many years for Palm Beach County – 3.3 percent for Dec. 2018 – and down from 3.5 percent in Dec. 2017. In addition, for the second consecutive month, there are more job openings in Palm Beach County than unemployed people – 29,128 job openings in the county in December vs. 23,945 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).

December 2018 is the second 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 December also matched that for the state and fell below the 3.7 percent national rate, continuing a 23-month streak where the county’s rate has stayed below or matched the national rate.

“Our job market remains the strongest it has been in nearly 30 years and we expect to continue to outpace the nation for most of 2019,” 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. “Palm Beach County gained 17,900 jobs over the year – a 2.9 percent increase – compared to 1.8 percent nationally.”

Over the past 12 months, the county’s unemployment rate ranged between 3.0 and 4.0 percent, primarily reflecting seasonal fluctuations. December’s rate is about one-third of what it was at the 11.6 percent peak unemployment rate of the Great Recession in summer 2010.

Job growth by industry sector: On a percentage basis, job gains in December were led by the manufacturing sector with 8.5 percent over-the-year job growth, more than double the statewide change of 3.3 percent.

The number of jobs in six sectors – manufacturing, construction, financial activities, leisure/hospitality, trade/transportation/utilities, and information – grew faster than statewide over the year. There were job gains in all sectors except for government.

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

Industry                                                               Change from previous month

Leisure/hospitality                                            +5,500 jobs

Professional/business services                          +3,000 jobs

Construction                                                      +2,900 jobs

Financial activities                                            +2,700 jobs

Trade/transportation/utilities                            +2,400 jobs

Manufacturing                                                  +1,700 jobs

Education/health services                                +500 jobs

Other services                                                   +400 jobs

Information                                                        +200 jobs

Government                                                      -1,400 jobs

Top 8 most advertised jobs available: The Conference Board produces a monthly report of real-time labor demand captured through online job advertisements. The latest report shows that there were advertisements for 29,128 full-time and part-time jobs in Palm Beach County in December. 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. Accountants
  6. First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers
  7. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
  8. Software developers

New Professional Placement Network kicks off:  CareerSource Palm Beach County has opened a new Professional Placement Network (PPN) at its Central Career Center, 3400 Belvedere Road, in West Palm Beach to better serve professionals. The PPN provides specialized services for professionals who have been displaced, in career transition, or are looking for new career growth opportunities. The program is designed to assist individuals holding a 4-year degree and $47,000 minimum salary in their most recent position. Classes are held from 9 a.m. to noon over 3 consecutive days each month and are limited to no more than 20 professionals each. The initial class was held Jan. 15 – 17 and subsequent classes are scheduled for:

  • Feb. 12 – 14, 2019
  • March 19 – 21, 2019

There is no cost to participants, but you must register in advance to attend at:

Minimum wage increase effective Jan. 1: Florida’s minimum wage increased from $8.25 per hour to $8.46 per hour. The direct wage to tipped employees increased from $5.23 per hour to $5.44 per hour in addition to tips.

Holiday closing: Our facilities will be closed Monday, Jan. 21 for the Martin Luther King holiday.

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 average wages. CareerSource also has awarded $13 million in grants to area businesses and employees for 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 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 Jan. 2019 are scheduled for release on March 11, 2019 followed by those for February on March 22. 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, 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.