Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Bahamas national unemployment rate increases

Unemployment up

Survey says more than 30,000 without jobs

Guardian Staff Reporter

The national unemployment rate rose from 14.3 percent in May 2014 to 15.7 percent in November 2014, according to preliminary results of the latest Labour Force Survey.

The survey, which has a reference period of October 27 to November 2, 2014, shows that both New Providence and Grand Bahama saw increases in unemployment.

In New Providence, the unemployment rate grew from 15 percent to 16 percent, and in Grand Bahama it increased from 14.7 to 18.6 percent. The Department of Statistics also conducted a survey in Abaco, which recorded an unemployment rate of 20.3 percent.

Cypreanna Winters, the statistician responsible for the Labour Force Survey, said the results of the survey, which covered a six-month period, indicate that the labor force increased by 1.8 percent since the last survey conducted in May 2014.

“The labor force now totals 201,040 persons,” she said during a press conference at the Department of Statistics.

“There was an increase in both the number of employed and unemployed persons; however, the growth in the number of unemployment persons exceeded that of the employed.”

As it relates to discouraged workers, the number decreased nationally from 4,880 in May to 4,560 in November.

“In New Providence, while there was an increase in the number of discouraged workers, 22 percent, the reverse is noted in Grand Bahama where there was a decrease of 55 percent,” Winters said.

Officials believe the increase in discouraged workers in New Providence is due in part to last year’s layoffs.

“You had persons who were laid off during the course of the year and they would have become despondent,” Director of Statistics Kelsie Dorsett said.

In Abaco, where the total labor force was 9,800 at the time of the survey, there was an estimated 320 discouraged workers.

According to the standard definition of the International Labour Organization, discouraged workers are not considered unemployed as they have stopped looking for work because they feel there are no jobs available.

The survey shows that 31,540 people were listed as unemployed –17,145 women and 14,395 men.

A breakdown of those statistics shows that 24,110 people were listed as unemployed in New Providence, 4,725 in Grand Bahama and 1,990 in Abaco.

The results also show that 81,900 women were listed as employed and 87,600 men were listed as employed, for a total of 169,500.

Of that number, 126,545 were employed in New Providence, 20,645 in Grand Bahama and 7,810 in Abaco.

Winters noted that the unemployment rate for people ages 15 to 24 continues to be considerably higher than any other age group.

Youth unemployment nationally stood at 31 percent in November compared to 28 percent in May 2014.

Officials have attributed the high rate of unemployment among young people over the years to a lack of experience when entering a competitive labor market.

Since May 2012, 8,850 net jobs were added to the economy.

The number of people employed in May 2012 was 160,650 compared to the 169,500 employed in November 2014, the survey shows.

January 10, 2015