Palm Beach County Unemployment Rate Drops to Lowest in More Than 4 Years; Now Below Both State and National Rate

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Workforce Alliance reports that Palm Beach County's unemployment rate for February 2013 is 7.4 percent - the lowest in more than four years (since the July 2008 rate of 7.2 percent) – and 1.7 percentage points less than the February 2012 rate of 9.1 percent.

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"This is the best news for employment in our area in more than four years," said Steve Craig, president and chief executive officer of Workforce Alliance.

West Palm Beach, Fla. (March 29, 2013) -- Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate for February 2013 is 7.4 percent – the lowest in more than four years (since the July 2008 rate of 7.2 percent) – and 1.7 percentage points less than the February 2012 rate of 9.1 percent. The county’s unemployment rate also fell below the state (7.5 percent) and the nation (8.1 percent), all not seasonally adjusted, according to information provided today by Workforce Alliance and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. February’s rate is 0.6 percentage points lower than the January 2013 rate.

“This is the best news for employment in our area in more than four years. The reduced unemployment rate coupled with continued job growth and increases in the number of job openings are signs that our area is emerging from the Great Recession,” said Steve Craig, president and chief executive officer of Workforce Alliance, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County. “This month, Workforce Alliance achieved a third consecutive year of record job placements three months before the end of the current program year – helping to place more than 22,000 people in jobs compared to 16,428 people last year.”

Job growth: Palm Beach County gained nearly 10,000 jobs over the year, experiencing employment growth in seven industry categories: Government (+2,600 jobs and ranking first in the state in this category); professional/business services (+2,600 jobs); education/health services (+2,300 jobs); trade/transportation/utilities (+1,900 jobs); leisure/hospitality (+900 jobs); financial activities and other services (+100 jobs each).

Job openings increase 15 percent: There were 19,643 advertised job openings in Palm Beach County in February 2013, a 15.1 percent increase (+2,576 jobs) compared to February 2012. Occupational groups with the most advertised openings were sales and related occupations, healthcare practitioners, technical occupations, and office/administrative support functions.

“The number of advertised job openings has continued to increase year over year for nearly two years. Employers are looking to fill jobs and this creates opportunities for workers who are looking to find new and better jobs,” Craig said.

Services for employers: Workforce Alliance provides a comprehensive package of no-cost services to help businesses compete in today’s challenging marketplace. These services include 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 job seekers: On average, more than 15,000 visitors each month receive help from the specialized services at three Workforce Alliance 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 Workforce Alliance website at http://www.pbcalliance.com.

More information on programs and services is available at the Workforce Alliance Career Centers:
-- Central Career Center-1951 N. Military Trail, Suite D, West Palm Beach, FL 33409; (561) 340-1060    
-- South Career Center-951 Yamato Road, Suite 175 , Boca Raton, FL 33431; (561) 853-0181                
-- West Career Center-1085 S. Main Street, Belle Glade, FL 33430; (561) 829-2040

Note to editors: You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/video crew to interview a Workforce Alliance spokesperson and/or job seekers at our Central Career Center in West Palm Beach. Please call 561.340.1060 ext. 2360 or 561.340.1061 ext. 2229 for scheduling.

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Patricia Davis
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