TREASURE COAST - CareerSource Research Coast, which tracks employment for Indian River, Martin, and St. Lucie counties, reports that the region’s unemployment rate at the end of 2018 was 3.8 percent, down 0.5 percent from the 4.3 percent that closed 2017.

Martin County did best, with a 3.3 percent unemployment rate that matched the statewide Florida rate of 3.3 percent. Indian River County had a 3.9 percent unemployment rate, and St. Lucie County was 4.0 percent.

The December labor force for the region was 279,487, up 7,639 (2.8 percent) over Dec. 2017. There were 10,568 unemployed residents in the region.

The Port St. Lucie metro area, which includes Martin County in CareerSource reporting, is showing the strongest growth in non-agricultural employment. The majority of the nonagricultural employment in the region was in the Port St. Lucie metro area, which accounted for 152,800 jobs in Dec. 2018, an increase of 5,600 jobs (3.8 percent) from Dec. 2017.

The industries gaining the most jobs in the Port St. Lucie area over the year were trade, transportation, and utilities (1,300 jobs); education and health services (1,100 jobs); leisure and hospitality (900 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (800 jobs); professional and business services (500 jobs); manufacturing (300 jobs); government (300 jobs); financial activities (200 jobs); and other services (200 jobs).

Indian River County saw an increase in non-agricultural employment of 53,800, up 1,600 jobs (3.1 percent) over the year. The industries gaining Indian River County jobs were mining, logging, and construction (400 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (400 jobs); leisure and hospitality (300 jobs); education and health services (200 jobs); manufacturing (100 jobs); financial activities (100 jobs); professional and business services (100 jobs); and other services (100 jobs).

According to CareerSource, the positions most advertised online in the three counties are registered nurses, retail salespersons, and first-line supervisors of retail sales workers. These three occupations have consistently led Treasure Coast online job listings for the past few years.

Next are customer service representatives, medical and health services managers, insurance sales agents, supervisors of office and administrative support workers, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

Employers placing the most job ads are the School Board of Martin County, HCA Healthcare Company, and Indian River Medical Center.

The top staffing firms/recruiters by ads are Robert Half International, Tradesmen International, and Accountemps.

Statewide, the current unemployment rate is 3.3 percent, down 0.6 percent from Dec., 2017, as Florida’s population continues to grow. estimates more than 21.4 million Floridians will call Florida their primary residence in 2019.

In 2018, Florida’s economy surpassed $1 trillion, making it the 17th largest economy in the world.

In 2018, 241,000 private sector jobs were created in Florida. The Chamber of Commerce is predicting the growth to slow in 2019. The Chamber estimates Florida will create 150,000 new jobs in 2019. The Chamber warns that a trade war and the expansion of tariffs pose a threat for Florida’s economy.

“When job creators see uncertainty in financial or international markets, they are less likely to invest,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist of the Florida Chamber Foundation. “To ensure Florida remains competitive, we must continue the momentum built since the last recession, and renew a focus on signaling to the world that Florida is open for business and ready for economic development investments.”

The Chamber expects Florida to show 2019 job growth in healthcare, manufacturing, and construction. The next jobs report will be released on March 11, and will be available at

For help finding employment or employees, visit any CareerSource location, call toll free (866) 482-4473, or email Most locations are open M-F, but call to confirm.

CareerSource locations: St. Lucie Career Center, 584 NW University Blvd. Suite 300, Port St. Lucie; Garden City Career Center, 2102 Ave. Q, Room 16, Fort Pierce; Indian River County Career Center, 1880 82nd Ave. Suite 103, Vero Beach; Martin County Career Center, 710 SE Central Parkway, Stuart.

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