Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Improves to 6.1 Percent; Drops Below State, National Rates

West Palm Beach, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2020) – Palm Beach County job seekers have much to be thankful for this holiday season, 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):

- Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for October fell to 6.1 percent from 7.0 percent in September, marking the third consecutive month of improvement in the county’s employment picture. The county’s rate also fell below the 6.6 percent national rate and Florida’s 6.4 percent rate.

- Total nonagricultural employment in Palm Beach County increased to 597,500 in October from 585,700 in September -- and more than half of the jobs have been recovered since March/April 2020

- There are 2,656 job openings in Palm Beach County compared to less than 400 in April.

- Labor force in the county increased to 706,665 in October from 699,888 in September. This measure indicates that there are more people working and looking for work compared to last month.

- The county’s unemployment rate continued to stay below other major 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 continue to be the hardest hit.

- The Business Development Board closed 25 projects between Oct. 2019 and Sept. 2020 that have resulted in nearly 3,000 new jobs, over 1.64 million square feet of commercial development and 126.3 million in capital investment in Palm Beach County. The most recent success story is Elliott Management founded by Paul Singer, a $41 billion hedge fund based in Manhattan that plans to bring its headquarters to West Palm Beach. This move is a big win in South Florida and is likely to prompt other large firms to explore relocating to our region.

“We are encouraged by the steady improvements we have been experiencing, including job gains from the previous month in four of the top five key industry sectors,” said Julia Dattolo, Interim President and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.

Here’s an overview of the top five key industry sectors in Palm Beach County:

Professional and business services

- Employment: 110,600

- Jobs gained Sept. to Oct.: +3,200

- Jobs lost over year: -5,000

Trade/transportation/utilities

- Employment: 109,300

- Jobs gained Sept. to Oct.: +1,700

- Jobs lost over year: -5,600

Education and health services

- Employment: 100,400

- Jobs gained Sept. to Oct.: +1,000

-  Jobs lost over year: -6,100

Leisure and hospitality

- Employment: 70,300

- Jobs gained Sept. to Oct.: +5,500

- Jobs lost over year: -16,800

Government

- Employment: 64,300

- Jobs lost Sept. to Oct.: -100

- Jobs lost over year: -2,800

The county’s year-ago rate for October was 3.1 percent and the total number of jobs in the county dropped by 41,000 compared to a year ago. Outside of the Great Depression, the county’s record high unemployment rate was 14.2 percent in April 2020 and had reached nearly 12 percent during the so-called Great Recession in summer 2010. 

Next Virtual Job Fair Dec. 10: CareerSource Palm Beach County’s last virtual hiring event for the year to help employers staff now and for the winter season:

- Logistics job fair – Dec. 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; no cost to job seekers but registration is required (link to be posted in December on www.careersourcepbc.com )

CareerSource has held eight virtual hiring events this year to help connect hundreds of job seekers with more than 200 area employers.

Help is Here portal:  As businesses rebuild and our tourism season ramps up, CareerSource Palm Beach County has launched an updated ‘Help Is Here’ web portal to help prepare job seekers for new opportunities and help employers find the talent they need to rebuild and thrive. The web portal can be accessed from the organization’s home page at www.careersourcepbc.com.

Help Is Here is CareerSource Palm Beach County’s focused public and business outreach effort to:

- Connect job seekers and businesses to critical resources for local, personalized help

- Develop innovative solutions to generate job recovery/retention and business continuity, driving economic recovery

A new feature of Help Is Here is the ability for job seekers and employers to email CareerSource staff with their needs and questions. 

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Nov. are scheduled for release on Dec. 18.  

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.

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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.