Unemployment numbers in Florida are reaching levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reported a 4.7% unemployment rate in March 2021.
Even with a low unemployment rate, millions remain out of a job. Julia Dattolo, President and CEO of CareerSource Palm Beach County, spoke with Tory Dunnan on this week's To The Point. Dattolo says what is happening now is a perfect storm between employers looking for workers and people trying to get back into the workforce.
"We have industries that are opening up, people who want to come out and enjoy the restaurants, the mall and shopping but the same time we are rolling out the vaccines and a lot of people still don't feel comfortable going to get a job where they could potentially contract COVID," Dattolo said. "There are people who are considering staying at home taking care of their children and not ready to come back into the workforce, so a lot of jobs are remaining open right now and they are being very hard to fill especially at the lower salary ranges such as the hospitality jobs."
Dattolo says Palm Beach County has regained nearly 90% of the jobs lost last year.
"Our economy is pretty diverse in Palm Beach County so we are not relying on theme parks or cruise lines. We have a diverse economy here and that has truly helped us recover," Dattolo said.
CareerSource Palm Beach is hosting several job fair to help employers and potential employees. You can find them by clicking here.
As for which industries are hiring, Dattolo says hospitality is big right now but so are many others.
"We have had growth in all of our major industries sectors," according to Dattolo. "Right now everyone sees restaurants and hotels and lodging as opening up and probably the hottest commodity but honestly it is every sector from business and finance to healthcare and education and the retail."
Florida lawmakers have passed one bill this session to help people looking for jobs. This past week, a bill that would overhaul the DEO was sent to Governor Ron DeSantis' desk. The bill will require upgrades to the unemployment portal connect, moving it to a modern cloud-based system. Meanwhile, the senate passed a bill that would have increased benefits but it is lacking house support.