Jarrett: Bahamas must generate at least 8K jobs annually
The Bahamas will have to create eight to ten thousand jobs each year for the next three years to return to pre-recession unemployment levels, argues retired banker Al Jarrett.
It’s necessary, he said, to reduce an unemployment rate nearing 19 percent, in his estimation.
“We lost over 20,000 jobs in the recession,”Jarrett claimed.”We have new entrants on the market and people are looking for a job and there is no work. That’s based on empirical and anecdotal information.
“When the last survey was done in October 2009, the Department of Statistics rendered that unemployment will be about 15 percent, with Grand Bahama around 18.2 percent and New Providence being about 14.6 percent. But if you take into consideration the discouraged workers of around 9,000, that would carry the number to about 18.2 percent of the population unemployed in The Bahamas.”
He argues the number has only increased in the last year with the absence of any real opportunities opening up to absorb the unemployed. Labour Minister Dion Foulkes, however, has asserted that all indications are that unemployment in the country is on the decline, pointing to a decrease in the number of people registering for unemployment.
However, no numbers have been provided to support his statement. In December, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham explained that the main reason why no official unemployment numbers have been provided to the public in 2009 was because the Department of Statistics was just too taxed to take it on.
“We would like to be able to give you the unemployment statistics. We dont have(them). The Department of Statistics said it could not undertake a census this year and also do the unemployment labor survey,”he told
reporters recently.”The Ministry of Finance pressed them because we wanted it done[but]they said they could not do both jobs and they did the census, and so we do not have any statistical specific information to give you. We are giving you some indicators that we have.”
He continued,”Those indicators can be on a Friday you go by the banks and you see how many people cashing checks… see how many people are shopping… see how many new people are registering at National Insurance. There are a whole host of things… the real estate people in terms of their sales[and]construction. These are indicators.”
Those indicators aren’t accurate enough for Jarret, who argues new graduates from college and high school are not being calculated into the labor pool.
“I don’t know how they couldn’t find$100,000 to do a survey for something as important as that… talking about they had to do the census,”he said.