1,400 people hired via Labour on the Blocks initiative
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Director of Labour John Pinder said yesterday that while he was disappointed and somewhat surprised by the increase in joblessness given the employment bursts last year, the figures suggest that Bahamians on New Providence in particular, ought to consider seeking alternative employment opportunities, including those on the Family Islands.
“I myself was kind of surprised that we did not put a decrease in the unemployment rate,” Pinder told Eyewitness News Online.
“I thought it would have decreased by one or a half, or three, quarter per cent or something
“But to see it’s still increasing is a concern, and so, I guess we have to tighten up our belt even more.”
Unemployment nationally rose in the fourth quarter of 2018, moving from 10 per cent in May 2018 to 10.7 per cent in November, according to the latest Labour Force Survey, which was released on Monday.
According to Pinder, up to 1,400 people have been employed as a part of the Labour of the Blocks initiative.
He also pointed to the jobs created as a result of Rosewood at Baha Mar opening last May, among other projects last year.
“I would have thought that our Labour on the Blocks initiative would have put a dent in the unemployment rate,” he said.
“We are still trying as best we can as it relates to the NOVs (notice of vacancies) to ensure that the persons listed in our skills bank get first preference to any advertisements for a vacancy before we issue a labour certificate.
“Now, what I think needs to happen is, I have been seeing quite a number of requests for maids, live-in maids, gardeners, yardmen and that type of career.
“What I also recognize is they are starting to increase the salary on those.
“Most of the time, they advertise them at $210, minimum wage.
“I am now seeing some as much as $300 a week.
“So, maybe Bahamians have to now consider, getting some of those [jobs]; those who don’t have skill sets to get higher paying jobs.
“I also have to continue to see how we can have discussions with the vocational schools, so they can get Bahamians qualified to meet the standard for some of the unemployment opportunities that present itself as it relates to persons who are applying for these labour certificates, saying they can’t kind find skilled, technical persons — plumbers and masons and capturers and multi-welders and certain mechanics.
Pinder said there are a number of employment opportunities on the Family Islands where resorts are being constructed.
“They even need some permanent staffers, so some persons need to make up their mind to kind of relocate themselves into other little islands and cays where they can get gainful employment,” he said.
While unemployment increased from 10.1 per cent to 11 per cent on New Providence, the opposite trend was observed on Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.
Unemployment on Grand Bahama fell from 12.4 per cent to 11.9 per cent.
Unemployment also declined on Abaco, from 10.7 per cent 7.7 per cent.
Pinder suggested that more residents on New Providence have begun seeking employment opportunities on Family Islands, ferrying back and forth for work.
According to the latest survey, 25,135 people were listed as unemployed.