West Palm Beach, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2018) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for August is 3.9 percent, down from 4.4 percent a year ago. The county’s rate matched the national rate and edged the state’s 3.8 percent rate (all numbers not seasonally adjusted), according to the latest monthly reports released today from CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate has stayed below or matched the national rate for the past 19 consecutive months. Prior to August, the county’s rate had stayed below or matched the state rate for the past 17 consecutive months.

“More than 6,000 jobs were added over the year and there were nearly 21,000 advertised job openings in August compared to 18,355 available jobs last year. In addition, for the past 11 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 4.1 percent, primarily reflecting seasonal fluctuations. August’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.

Job growth by industry sector: On a percentage basis, job gains in August were led by the construction industry with 10.4 percent over-the-year job growth, above 7.7 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 five sectors – construction, financial activities, manufacturing, other services, and government – 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

Leisure/hospitality                                           +3,700 jobs

Financial activities                                            +2,300 jobs

Other services                                                   +1,500 jobs

Manufacturing                                                  +1,000 jobs

Government                                                      +300 jobs

Professional/business services                   +200 jobs

Trade/transportation/utilities                    -400 jobs

Information                                                        -500 jobs

Education/health services                            -5,800 jobs

The results for the education/health services sector primarily reflect two factors — the seasonal decline in public/private education jobs during most of August combined with a shift by local healthcare employers from hiring direct labor to using contract labor or 1099 positions. These contract workers do not appear in employment reports. There are about 700 agencies and businesses that hire healthcare givers in Palm Beach County.

Top 8 most advertised jobs available: The Conference Board produces a monthly report of advertised jobs by position. This report shows that there were 20,910 advertisements for full-time and part-time jobs in Palm Beach County in August compared to 18,355 last year. The top 8 most advertised jobs in the county were for:

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Retail salespeople
  3. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
  4. Accountants
  5. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
  6. Customer service representatives
  7. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers
  8. Security officers

Closing the skills gap: In the Palm Beach County Workforce Analysis report by Boyette Strategic Advisors released in June 2018, 56 percent of Palm Beach County employers surveyed identified lack of work skills as their greatest challenge to employee recruitment.

CareerSource and its community partners are engaged in several efforts to address the skills gap in Palm Beach County.  We assist job seekers with training, soft skills and placements.  We spend $2 million annually in training dollars to upgrade the skills of job seekers with certificates/degrees, apprenticeships/internships and training grants to help meet employer demand for skilled talent.

We work with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, School District of Palm Beach County, colleges and universities along with some 12,000 businesses that use our services to develop a Targeted Occupations List (TOL) of in-demand jobs in Palm Beach County. This list of 107 occupations shows the annual percentage of job growth, wages, and career paths.  Our training providers use the TOL to develop curriculum and courses to meet these in-demand jobs. We currently support 43 training providers offering 673 courses. We also work with our training providers to help develop new courses to meet the needs of local businesses based on their input.

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 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.

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for Sept. 2018 are scheduled for release on Oct. 19.