Although the economy has been growing at a steady pace, job numbers have lagged behind. However, Central Bank Governor John Rolle has predicted a turnaround.
The Bahamas economy is expected to grow by 2.1 percent this year, due largely to a boom in tourism output over the last year.
“For example, a lot of the Baha Mar hiring took place before the hotel opened so, by the time you started to see the boom in the industry there were already employees there waiting to take advantage of that, so you didn’t see corresponding changing in job growth,” Rolle said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“Now the question will be how much more demand will be placed on the system this year for employees? I suspect we will see some of that.”
The most recent Labour Force Survey from the Department of Statistics showed rising unemployment in the country, with a rate that rose from 10 percent in May 2018 to 10.7 percent in November 2018.
Rolle said he expects those numbers to decrease during the next survey period.
“For many businesses, we don’t have data on how many people these businesses had employed who were a burden on the business, meaning that they were overemployed,” he said.
“So, if you have cases where businesses are fully staffed even if there is a jump in the volume of business they are receiving, the only thing that changes is maybe employees are working more hours, they’re certainly no longer pressured to lay off employees, but it doesn’t really give you the space to see a rapid increase in hiring. That’s probably something that happens a little later.
“So, some of this growth is probably just giving employers a little more headroom who may have been in difficult situations, so you don’t see the immediate one for one change in terms of employment. But you would certainly expect in 2019 to see a different level of response in the employment than last year.”
Rolle said he’s certain because “the numbers from the banks don’t lie”.
“When you see the amount of U.S. dollars that the commercial banks are purchasing, there are a lot more dollars flowing through the economy. Always look at those numbers, because people have to pay salaries and they have to use that money to pay salaries,” he said.
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