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Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Falls Below National Rate For Ninth Consecutive Month; Below State For Four Consecutive Months

/ August 1, 2014

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West Palm Beach, Fla. (July 18, 2014) – Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for June 2014 is 6.1 percent, down 1.8 percentage points from the June 2013 rate of 7.9 percent, and below the national rate for nine consecutive months and Florida’s for four consecutive months. The nation’s unemployment rate for June 2014 is 6.3 percent and the state’s rate is 6.2 percent (all numbers not seasonally adjusted), according to information provided today by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“Palm Beach County gained more than 16,000 new jobs over the year and our unemployment rate decrease continues to outpace the nation and the state, indicating our regional economy is performing better than both of these. Although area employment is traditionally slower in the summer months and this seasonal trend is reflected in the unemployment rates for May and June, the rates also are considerably better than last summer,” 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.  “On a percentage basis, job growth is strongest in the construction industry, increasing 10.2 percent over the year. The industry sector gaining the most jobs overall is professional and business services with 5,300 new jobs.”

Mr. Craig added that Palm Beach County was among the top two of 22 metro areas in the state for gains over the year in the education and health services sector, adding 3,900 new jobs.

The county’s unemployment rate also has dropped to nearly half of what it was at the peak of the Great Recession in summer 2010 – a decrease of 5.9 percentage points from the 12 percent peak rate.

Besides the growth in the number of new jobs over the year, Mr. Craig noted other signs of sustained regional economic improvement including rising sales tax revenues, home prices and record tourism levels combined with a low inflation rate.

Job growth by industry sector: Palm Beach County experienced employment growth in the following sectors in June 2014: professional/business services (5,300 jobs); education/health services (+3,900 jobs); leisure/hospitality (+3,100 jobs); construction (+2,700 jobs); trade/transportation/utilities (+1,700 jobs); and government (+600 jobs).

Another very positive development for career seekers and employers that went largely unnoticed this month was the passage of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by Congress on July 10 (the bill was passed by the Senate on June 25).

“This rare example of bipartisan, bicameral legislation allows the nation’s workforce system to continue to provide career placement services, assessments and financial assistance for high-demand occupational skills training,” Mr. Craig said. “The bill also enhances a local education, employment and economic development process that is unique in Florida – where CareerSource Palm Beach County, the Business Development Board and our education partners work together to ensure the availability of a trained and qualified talent pool to attract new businesses and support business retention, much as the new legislation is seeking. We are pleased that our efforts have been validated by Congress!”

Services for employers: CareerSource Palm Beach County 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 new or existing employees.

Services for career seekers: On average, more than 11,000 visitors each month receive help from the specialized services at two Career Centers. The centers offer classes and facilities for job search, career development and consulting; and grants for job skills training – all at no cost for job seekers. Schedules of workshops and employers that are interviewing are posted on the CareerSource Palm Beach County website atwww.careersourcepbc.com.

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