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Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Improves to 7.0 Percent; Drops Below State, National Rates

Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for September fell to 7.0 percent from 7.9 percent in August, marking a second consecutive month of improvement in the county’s employment picture.

West Palm Beach, Fla. (Oct. 16, 2020) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for September fell to 7.0 percent from 7.9 percent in August, marking a second consecutive month of improvement in the county’s employment picture. The county’s rate also fell below the 7.7 percent national rate and Florida’s 7.6 percent rate, 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).

Other measures of improvement include:

  • Total nonagricultural employment in Palm Beach County increased to 585,700 in September from 580,200 in August and more than 35 percent of jobs have been recovered since March/April 2020.
  • There are 3,789 job openings in Palm Beach County compared to less than 400 in April.
  • Labor force in the county increased to 699,888 in September from 698,876 in August. 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.
  • Consumer sentiment among Floridians rallied in September to 85.1 points from August’s 78.8 – the largest increase in consumer sentiment since it bottomed out in April. Overall, Floridians are more optimistic and are anticipating greater economic prospects in the medium- and long-run, according to the latest monthly report by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.

“We are encouraged by these improvements, including Phase 3 reopenings and job gains from the previous month in all 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:

Trade/transportation/utilities

  • Employment: 107,600
  • Jobs gained Aug. to Sept.: +700
  • Jobs lost over year: -6,100

Professional and business services

  • Employment: 107,400
  • Jobs gained Aug. to Sept.: +100
  • Jobs lost over year: -9,600

Education and health services

  • Employment: 99,400
  • Jobs gained Aug. to Sept.: +1,800
  • Jobs lost over year: -6,100

Leisure and hospitality

  • Employment: 64,800
  • Jobs gained Aug. to Sept.: +700
  • Jobs lost over year: -20,300

Government

  • Employment: 64,400
  • Jobs gained Aug. to Sept.: +900
  • Jobs lost over year: -2,000

The county’s year-ago rate for September was 3.2 percent and the total number of jobs in the county dropped by 47,200 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. 

Three Virtual Job Fairs Coming Up: CareerSource Palm Beach County has scheduled three virtual hiring events in October and November to help employers staff now and for the winter season: 

  • Tri-region Healthcare/Life Sciences job fair -- Oct. 21, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; registration required (Click here to register)
  • Project Impact job fair – Oct. 29, 9 a.m. to noon; registration required (Click here to register)
  • Paychecks for Patriots job fair for Veterans – Nov. 12, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; registration required (Click here to register)

See our website for more information. CareerSource has held six virtual hiring events this year to help connect hundreds of job seekers with more than 150 area employers. 

Temporary Relocation of Belle Glade Career Center: CareerSource Palm Beach County’s West Career Center is temporarily relocating to 941 SE 1st Street in Belle Glade for one month beginning Monday, Oct. 19 while renovations take place at their regular location. A resource room will be available for clients including the use of computers and printers for job searches, skills assessments and assistance with reemployment services.

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Oct. are scheduled for release on Nov. 20.  

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.