Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Drops to Record Low 2.7 Percent; 5,600 New Jobs Added Over Year

2019 closed with a record low unemployment rate of 2.7 percent for Palm Beach County, setting a new record low unemployment rate for the third time in 2019 (previous record lows were set in November and April). December’s rate also fell below the year ago rate of 3.2 percent, 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. (Jan. 24, 2020) – 2019 closed with a record low unemployment rate of 2.7 percent for Palm Beach County, setting a new record low unemployment rate for the third time in 2019 (previous record lows were set in November and April). December’s rate also fell below the year ago rate of 3.2 percent, 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).

In addition to this new record, for 14 consecutive months, there are more job openings in Palm Beach County than people looking for jobs – 20,245 job openings in the county in December vs. 19,868 job seekers.

Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate also remains below the 3.4 percent national rate, continuing a nearly 3-year streak in which the county’s rate has stayed below or matched the national rate. Florida’s rate is 2.5 percent.

“The regional job market continues to thrive with unemployment at or below 4 percent for more than two years running and job growth surpassing that for most of the nation,” 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.   

Job growth by industry sector: On a percentage basis, job gains in December were led by the financial sector with 4.9 percent over-the-year job growth, besting the 1.3 percent statewide gain in that sector.

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

Industry                                                               Change

Government                                                      +3,000 jobs

Financial activities                                            +2,100 jobs

Construction                                                      +1,600 jobs

Education/health services                                 +1,200 jobs

Leisure/hospitality                                           +1,000 jobs

Professional/business services                         +500 jobs

Manufacturing                                                  -100 jobs

Information                                                        -500 jobs

Other services                                                   -1,300 jobs

Trade/transportation/utilities                             -1,900 jobs

Top 8 most advertised jobs available: The Conference Board produces a monthly report of real-time labor demand captured through job advertisements. Palm Beach County accounts for 7.1 percent of all advertised job openings in Florida. The latest report shows that there were advertisements for 20,245 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. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
  4. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
  5. Customer service representatives
  6. Waiters/waitresses
  7. Managers
  8. Software developers

Looking ahead, the strongest job growth is expected to come in the healthcare, leisure/hospitality, administrative/support services, professional/business services, and government sectors over the next seven years.

2019 Job Market in Review

Highest, lowest unemployment: The county’s highest unemployment rate during the decade reached 11.6 percent during the so-called Great Recession in summer 2010. The record low unemployment rate occurred at the end of the decade -- 2.7 percent in Dec. 2019. Jobs grew by 135,269 over the decade and are projected to grow by 41,998 over the next five years.

Employer partnerships: This year, CareerSource coordinated/participated in 55 hiring events that attracted nearly 1,100 local employers and over 6,600 job candidates. Job fairs and training grants help businesses save time, effort and costs by sourcing local candidates.

Glades area employment improves:  Because of the critical service needs there, CareerSource operates a career center in Belle Glade and plays a leading role in collaborative efforts to increase employment and economic development. This past year, we assisted the Palm Beach County mayor and our community partners in obtaining a $1.5 million state grant to support training and employment opportunities in the Glades communities. During the past five program years, CareerSource has helped place more than 8,200 Glades area residents into jobs and provided $1.6 million in training funds to local employers and residents. As a result of these and other collaborative efforts, area unemployment has been reduced by 40 percent during the past 5 program years.

Professional Placement Network creates $4.1 million in salaries: CareerSource Palm Beach County launched a Professional Placement Network in Jan. 2019 to better serve managerial/executive level professionals. Salaries from participants placed into jobs after taking the monthly courses totaled $4.1 million at year-end 2019.

Educational partnerships: This year, CareerSource career recruiters were placed on five campuses at Palm Beach State College, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and SouthTech Adult Education Center. Job readiness and employment services are provided at Florida Atlantic University, Keiser University, and Lynn University.  

Pre-Release Employment Preparation And Re-entry Engagement: Our nationally recognized PREPARE program was selected and funded by the U.S. Dept. of Labor to provide inmates in Palm Beach County jails with employment services after incarceration. As of June 2019, a better than 50% employment rate for enrollees has been maintained. Through reduced recidivism, the Palm Beach County Public Safety Department says PREPARE has saved $10,286,474 in taxpayer funds above the cost of the program.

Virtual Career System: CareerSource developed and launched the Virtual Career System (VCS) available 24/7 to guide job seekers through their job search campaign, connect employers with talent, and introduce young adults to career pathway tools. The system now is available statewide and has been presented to the National Association of Workforce Boards, Florida Economic Development Council, Florida Dept. of Economic Opportunity, and CareerSource Florida. The VCS is available from the home page at www.careersourcepbc.com.

Looking for a New Career in the New Year?

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 80,500 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $1.85 billion in annual wages. CareerSource also awarded $23 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance during that time.  

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Jan. and Feb. 2020 are scheduled for release in March 2020. 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.

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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. 2229 before 3:00 p.m. today for scheduling.