PBC Unemployment Rate Drops

Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for February dropped to 3.7 percent from 4.3 percent a year ago and below January’s 4.0 percent.

The county’s rate was lower than the state’s 3.8 percent and the nation’s 4.4 percent rates, according to reports released last week from CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate has stayed below the state rate for the past 12 consecutive months and below the national rate for 13 consecutive months.

“For the past five consecutive months, the county’s unemployment rate has fallen below or matched four percent, a healthy indicator of what many economists consider to be a measure of full employment. Palm Beach County gained 3,300 jobs over the year and there were more than 20,000 available advertised jobs in February,” 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.

Over the past 12 months, the county’s unemployment rate ranged between 3.5 and 4.7 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 in 2010.

On a percentage basis, job gains in February were led by the construction industry with 8.5 percent over-the-year job growth, above 6.6 percent statewide.