West Palm Beach, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2018) – The year 2017 ended with among the lowest unemployment rates in a decade for Palm Beach County – 3.6 percent for December 2017 — down from 4.6 percent a year ago and below November’s 3.8 percent. The county’s rate was lower than the state’s 3.7 percent and the nation’s 3.9 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted), according to reports released today from CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“The job market outlook is among the brightest in a decade. Palm Beach County gained a remarkable 10,300 jobs over the year and there were 19,659 available advertised jobs in December – that’s 1,771 more jobs than last year,” 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.

In each month of 2017, Palm Beach County’s monthly unemployment rate was lower than in 2016, with monthly job gains averaging more than 13,000. Over the past 12 months, the county’s unemployment rate ranged between 3.6 and 5.2 percent, 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 December were led by the construction industry with 10.6 percent over-the-year job growth, above 9.1 percent statewide, reflecting a very competitive market for this industry sector. Rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Irma put additional pressure on the already strong demand for construction workers throughout South Florida. The construction sector added jobs in every month of 2017, 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, government, and leisure/hospitality – 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                                                      +3,800 jobs

Government                                                      +2,900 jobs

Professional/business services                  +2,800 jobs

Leisure/hospitality                                          +1,300 jobs

Other services                                                   +800 jobs

Manufacturing                                                  +400 jobs

Information                                                        +200 jobs

Financial activities                                            +100 jobs

Education/health services                            +100 jobs

Trade/transportation/utilities                    -2,100 jobs


Top 10 fastest-growing occupations:  8 of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations in Palm Beach County between 2017 and 2025 are in the healthcare/life sciences sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Market Statistics report released in Dec. 2017. The top 10 occupations are:

  1. Nurse practitioners
  2. Personal care aides
  3. Home health aides
  4. Physical therapists
  5. Diagnostic medical sonographers
  6. Web developers
  7. Physical therapist assistants
  8. Phlebotomists
  9. Credit counselors
  10. Medical assistants


Top 10 most advertised jobs available in Palm Beach County: The Conference Board produces a monthly report of advertised jobs by position. The top 10 most help-wanted ads in the county for Dec. 2017 are for:

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Retail salespeople
  3. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
  4. First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers
  5. Customer service representatives
  6. Accountants
  7. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
  8. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers
  9. Computer user support specialists
  10. Restaurant cooks


New Delray Beach Career Center opens: Officials from CareerSource Palm Beach County, the city of Delray Beach and the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency cut the ribbon on Jan. 18 to open a new mini-career center to provide recruiting, hiring, training and related services to area career seekers and employers at the historic Delray Career Cottage. The facility is located at 186 NW 5th Avenue in Delray Beach and staff there can be contacted at 561-727-3399.

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.

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

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Jan. 2018 are scheduled for release on March 12 followed by those for Feb. on March 23. 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.