Unemployment rises marginally

Job seekers exceed job creation

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS  – Unemployment rose nationally in the fourth quarter of 2018, moving from 10 per cent in May 2018 to 10.7 per cent in November 2018, according to data released on Monday by the Department of Statistics.

The results of the latest Labour Force Survey show that despite 2,305 jobs being added to the economy during the six-month period, there were 4,250 job seekers who entered the labour force.

This means the increase in the labour force surpassed job creation, leading to a decline in the unemployment rate.

However, fewer people entered the job market in the six-month period of the latest survey, compared to the previous period.

Between November 2017 and May 2018, 4,765 entered the labour market, 515 more people than the 4,250 who entered the labor force between May 2018 and November 2018.

“That is a very good question,” said Director of Statistics Leona Wilson.

“There is an increase in the labour force, but in terms of the rate, I’ll guess we’ll have to get back to you.”

Unemployment in New Providence rose from 10.1 per cent to 11 per cent.

However, unemployment on Grand Bahama fell from 12.4 per cent to 11.9 per cent.

Unemployment  also declined on Abaco, from 10.7 to 7.7 per cent.

The results provide data on the labour force as it existed during the reference period October 28, 2018, through November 4, 2018.

According to the department, jobs were driven by private sector employment and self-employment, staving off further increases in the unemployment rate.

Private sector employment increased by 3.8 per cent, according to Senior Statistician Cypreanna Winters, who said the growth was attributed to the hotel and restaurant, wholesale, retail, transportation and construction sectors.

Meanwhile, self-employed people increased 11.9 per cent since May 2018 to 32,475 people.

When asked which sectors self-employed people were entering, Winters said the full report will provide more details.

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance said while the net jobs added to the economy were noteworthy, it acknowledged that the rate of job growth was not adequate enough to absorb the number of school leavers entering the job market.

“Overall, we welcome news that the unemployment rate improved in Grand Bahama and Abaco – two of the largest population centres outside of New Providence,” Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said.

“The numbers of discouraged workers also decreased, pointing to greater confidence in economic prospects among job seekers. But, our target level of growth that will reduce unemployment in a sustained way, and will be felt evenly across the country, so the work must continue.”

Turnquest said the government will continue to focus on strengthening and expanding efforts to boost job growth, directly and indirectly by investing in entrepreneurship, particularly for young Bahamians.

He added that the Minnis administration will also focus on human resource development, among other means, to stimulate growth and the private sector.

In March 2018, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said the government was optimistic that this year would be “one of the better years, in terms of employment of Bahamians and we are confident that the unemployment rate will go down.”

At the time, he said there were over 1,000 people who had received jobs as a result of the government’s Labour on the Blocks initiative.

Youth unemployment declined 24.1 per cent in May 2018 to 23.1 per cent in November 2018.

According to the statisticians yesterday, a more comprehensive report based on the November survey will be released soon.

 

Labour force

According to the survey, 25,135 people were listed as unemployed.

In the previous survey, 23,190 people were unemployed.

A closer look at the report shows that there were, 17,935 people unemployed in New Providence.

Another 3,900 people were listed as unemployed in Grand Bahama, and 1,100 in Abaco.

There were 3,955 people listed as unemployed in Grand Bahama in the previous survey, and 1,465 in Abaco.

The total labour force was 235,695 at the time of the most recent survey – 113,100 women and 122,595 men.

Of the 210,560 people employed, 145,690 were employed on New Providence, 28,810 on Grand Bahama and 13,155 in Abaco.

Since May 2017, approximately 10,405 jobs have been added to the economy, from 200,155 in May 2017 to 210,560 in November 18.

The Free National Movement came to office with a strong mandate to streamline expenditure, reduce national debt and facilitate more entrepreneurship.

Additionally, discouraged workers decreased nationally by 6.7 per cent, according to the report.

This group account for people who have not looked for work because they believed no jobs were available in the labour market.

There were 2,030 discouraged workers when the last survey was taken – 905 men and 1,1,25 women.

There were 2,175 discouraged workers nationally when the last survey was taken.

There were 2,035 discouraged workers when the survey was taken in November 2017.