There was certainly very little to celebrate on Labor Day 2020. Employment and the economy continued to struggle due to the COVID pandemic. Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate was 11.6 percent – nearly the same as the Great Recession of 2010 -- with more than 80,000 unemployed.
What a difference a year makes.
Following one of the most challenging years in our county’s history, our employment and economic outlook is emerging stronger, better and more encouraging than ever.
Businesses are hiring and job demand is as hot as the summer weather, rising at a rate that has remained considerably above that for the state and nation for nearly a year. Our unemployment rate is about one-third of what it was from the 14.7 percent record high in April 2020. More than 32,000 jobs were added over the year. Our staff is busier than ever assisting employers in all industry sectors who are finding it very challenging to hire the talent they need.
Recently, the Business Development Board announced the growth of 21 companies that have created more than 2,200 jobs. These relocations and expansions are expected to occupy or construct a total of 734,419 sq. feet of commercial/industrial space and bring $115.6 million in capital investment. Palm Beach County has become “Wall Street South” with more than 90 financial firms renting office space here.
For many organizations, the pandemic has changed the way they do business. We’ve changed, too. Since the beginning of the pandemic we never stopped working to serve our employers and job seekers via online platforms such as virtual job fairs, webinars and webcasts as well as phone, email and social media outlets. This hybrid model in our delivery of services, most of them available 24/7, is one we continue to expand and improve upon. Some have even been adopted for replication statewide. We’ve also partnered to offer job seeker services at four libraries around the county.
Looking for a new career this Labor Day? CareerSource offers virtual and in-person job fairs, classes and facilities for job searches, grants for job skills training for those who qualify, career development and consulting – at no cost! During the past five program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted nearly 60,000 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $1.2 billion in annual wages. CareerSource also awarded $10.1 million in grants to area businesses and employees for job training and educational assistance during that time. More information is at www.careersourcepbc.com.
CareerSource also provides services to help rebuild and sustain businesses 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.
Our hope for this Labor Day is to provide that first -- or next – step for someone to find work and support their family. What better way to follow Labor Day than with a new job to celebrate!