PALM BEACH COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS TO DECADE LOW OF 3.6 PERCENT; HIRING REBOUNDS AFTER HURRICANE IRMA

Published Friday, November 17, 2017

West Palm Beach, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2017) – Reports released today from CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity show that Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for October 2017 dropped to a 3.6 percent decade low – and down 1.4 percentage points below the year ago rate of 5.0 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate matched Palm Beach County, down from 4.9 percent last year, and both are below the 3.9 percent national rate, all numbers not seasonally adjusted. The county’s unemployment rate is the lowest since March 2007 when it was 3.5 percent.

“October’s hiring burst largely reflects a rebound from Hurricane Irma that temporarily depressed job gains in September. Palm Beach County gained 8,900 new jobs over the year – nearly double that for September. There also were 19,476 available advertised jobs in October – nearly 2,200 more than September,” said Steve Craig, president and chief executive officer of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.   

Positive impacts to the storm’s aftermath have been job gains in construction, wholesale materials suppliers, insurance and contractor jobs such as for debris removal.

Mr. Craig added that there has been a significant increase in individuals and families relocating to South Florida from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“According to the latest state report, more than 140,000 individuals have arrived in Florida from Puerto Rico since the storm’s passing. As part of the statewide CareerSource Florida network, we are helping them find employment and other assistance,” he said.

Palm Beach County’s monthly unemployment rate ranged between 3.6 and 5.2 percent over the past 12 months, primarily reflecting seasonal fluctuations. This compares favorably with state and national levels, and 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 October were led by the construction industry with 9.0 percent over-the-year job growth, higher than 7.4 percent statewide, reflecting a very competitive market for this industry sector. Rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Irma are putting additional pressure on the already strong demand for construction workers throughout South Florida.

The number of jobs in four sectors – construction, other services, government, and education/health services – grew faster than statewide over the year.

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

Industry                                                               Change from previous month

Construction                                                      +3,200 jobs

Professional/business services                      +2,200 jobs

Government                                                      +2,000 jobs

Other services                                                   +1,800 jobs

Education/health services                               +1,500 jobs

Information                                                        +200 jobs

Trade/transportation/utilities                       -1,200 jobs

Financial activities                                            -600 jobs

Leisure/hospitality                                          -200 jobs

Manufacturing                                                  unchanged

Seasonal hiring: Fall brings hundreds of seasonal jobs as businesses prepare for the winter holidays and tourism season. CareerSource assists many businesses in hiring full-time, part-time and temporary seasonal positions that can lead to year-round or full-time opportunities. Examples of companies that hire in the fall include restaurants, caterers, hotels and clubs, personal care salons, clinics and hospitals, gift wrapping and package delivery businesses. Check schedules of hiring events and positions available at www.careersourcepbc.com.

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: CareerSource is committed to help provide Palm Beach County residents with the opportunity to get a great job and build a career. The Central Career Center offers classes and facilities for job search, career development and consulting; and grants for job skills training – all at no cost for career seekers. Schedules of workshops and employer hiring events are posted at www.careersourcepbc.com.

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Nov. 2017 are scheduled for release on Dec. 22.

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 118,000 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $2.2 billion in annual average wages. CareerSource also has awarded nearly $15 million in grants to area businesses and employees for training and educational assistance during that time.

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