Unemployment rate drops; 7,700 jobs added

WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for July is 4 percent, down from 4.4 percent a year ago. The county’s rate matches the state’s and is lower than the nation’s 4.1 percent rate (all numbers not seasonally adjusted), according to the latest monthly reports released Aug 17 from CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate has stayed below or matched the state rate for the past 17 consecutive months and has stayed below the national rate for 18 consecutive months.

“Businesses are hiring and job demand is as hot as the summer weather. Some 7,700 jobs were added over the year and there were nearly 19,000 advertised job openings in July. In addition, for the past 10 consecutive months, the county’s unemployment rate has fallen below or matched 4 percent, a healthy indicator of what many economists consider to be full employment,” 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. Over the past 12 months, the county’s unemployment rate ranged between 3.3 and 4.4 percent, primarily reflecting seasonal fluctuations. July’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.
The increasingly competitive labor market means higher wages for workers. Wages and salaries in Palm Beach County are up 4.5 percent, according to the latest report of employment and wages in the nation’s 347 largest counties by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (fourth quarter 2017 vs. 2016). Palm Beach County also is outpacing all but three of the largest counties in Florida as well as the national average wage growth of 3.9 percent, according to the report.

“We are enjoying sustained growth and a healthy, balanced regional economy that in many ways is outpacing much of the nation,” Mr. Craig said. Job growth by industry sector: On a percentage basis, job gains in July were led by the construction industry with 9.6 percent over-the-year job growth, above 7.9 percent statewide. The construction sector added jobs in every month of 2017 to date, and had a higher percentage of monthly job growth over the state average during the same period.

The number of jobs in three sectors – construction, manufacturing, and financial activities – grew faster than statewide over the year. By the numbers, over-the-year job gains/losses in Palm Beach County were: construction +3,500 jobs, leisure/hospitality +3,500 jobs, financial activities +1,500 jobs, manufacturing +1,000 jobs, other services +800 jobs, professional/business services +500 jobs, information -100 jobs, government -200 jobs, education/health services -2,800 jobs, trade/transportation/utilities – unchanged. The results for the education/health services sector primarily reflect seasonal declines in public/private education jobs during the summer.

Top eight most advertised jobs available: The Conference Board produces a monthly report of advertised jobs by position. This report shows that there were 18,893 advertisements for full-time and part-time jobs in Palm Beach County in July. The top eight most advertised jobs in the county were for: registered nurses, retail salespeople, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers, accountants, customer service representatives, bookkeeping accounting, and auditing clerks, first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers, and software developers – applications.

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 www.careersourcepbc.com. 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.

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