Spurred by a sustained surge in Palm Beach County’s long-dormant construction industry, the region’s unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in March.
That matches a post-recession low set in May. The county’s jobless rate was down from 4.7 percent in February, state labor officials said Friday.
The building sector added 3,000 positions over the past year, a 9 percent growth rate, CareerSource Palm Beach County said Friday. That follows 10 percent jumps from February 2016 to February 2017 and from January 2016 to January 2017.
While large-scale homebuilding has yet to return, construction workers have been toiling at other types of structures, including the parking garage at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the Brightline railroad station and a new north bridge between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach.
However, the county’s job growth continued to lag the state’s. Palm Beach County employment expanded by 2.3 percent from March 2016 to March 2017, trailing Florida’s overall job growth of 3 percent.
Florida’s annual job growth matched Georgia’s and Nevada’s in a three-way tie for the fastest pace in the nation, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in March, compared to a national average of 4.5 percent.
Construction was the big gainer in Palm Beach County, but the low-paying leisure and hospitality sector added 2,900 positions.
“Businesses added more than 12,000 jobs in the West Palm Beach area over the year, which means thousands of new opportunities for families,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement.