Unemployment post-Dorian to have “significant drag” on economy

Unemployment post-Dorian to have “significant drag” on economy

Myers: Destroyed Marsh Harbour the “heart” of the Abaco community

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A well-known businessman and governance reformer has expressed concern that the likely rise in unemployment as a result Hurricane Dorian could have a “significant drag” on the Bahamian economy.

Robert Myers, a principal of Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) told Eyewitness News, “I think that it is obviously a tremendous concern and will absolutely have a significant drag on the economy and be detrimental to our debt to GDP, given the hundreds of people that have been displaced.”

He continued, “The flip side is that as much as the persons affected are going to be out of business for a period of time, they are also going to rebuild their businesses and many people will rebuild their homes. That will have a significant positive impact to employment and GDP growth on the flip side. Due to the severity of the storm the rebuild and the repair of infrastructure is going to take time.”

Myers said he is seeking to absorb displaced persons within his existing businesses.

“We are interviewing talented people and trying to absorb them as a Bahamian courtesy and absorb them into the jobs we are doing,” he said.

“We know those people need work and as a courtesy we are trying to add staff. We are talking to plumbers, carpenters and tile layers. We are actively interviewing those people to bring them on board with some of the work we are doing here in Nassau. As Bahamians we need to support our brothers and sisters and try to help out. They haven’t lost their skills, so we are going to do everything to try and help out.”

Myers noted that his Abaco businesses have been severely impacted by the storm, and a lack of running water and electricity will continue to impact efforts to resume.

“I’m just hoping we can take advantage of all of the relief and support we are getting from overseas,” he said. “Once the initial relief is over and life is secure, that is only a tiny fraction of relief this country is going to need with regards to the repair and rebuild of infrastructure and settlements. It largely starts with Marsh Harbour because it’s a feeder to everything else. It’s the heart of the community.”

Joblessness dropped nationally from 10.7 per cent last November to 9.5 per cent in May, according to data released today by the Department of Statistics.

In Grand Bahama, unemployment dropped to 10.9 percent.

Contrary to the trend, unemployment in Abaco increased from 7.7 percent last November to 9.3 per cent in May – an increase of 1.6 percent.

At the time of the last survey there were 22,635 people unemployed; 11,230 women, and 11,405 men.