50% unemployment on Grand Bahama

Nearly 50 percent of people on Grand Bahama are unemployed after Hurricane Dorian, a Department of Social Services assessment on Grand Bahama revealed.

In May, the island’s unemployment rate was 10.9 percent, according to data from the Department of Statistics.

The report, “Post-Hurricane Social Trends in Grand Bahama”, which detailed the situation on the island as of November 5, found that in Freeport, 47 percent of people were unemployed. In East End, 48 percent of people were unemployed and West End had the highest number of unemployment at 60 percent.

“West End reports the highest proportion of unemployment, with a very even distribution across all settlements,” it said.

“Similarly, the East End employment is quite even across the east settlements. However, in the Freeport area, some subdivisions report very high unemployment or very high employment.

“This suggests that a more in-depth assessment is required inside of Freeport to better understand this indicator.”

The report defined West End as any settlement west of the Hawksbill Creek Bridge, and East End as all settlements east of North Riding Point Club. All other areas were included with Freeport.

“The door-to-door Social Services assessment has been completed in Grand Bahama, but as part of the population has been displaced, not all settlements have been fully assessed,” the document noted.

“This product is meant to be used as a programming tool for shelter partners, to better understand what the social trends of the current assessment look like on the island.”

The report also found that a large majority of homes on the island were uninsured.

According to the assessment, 99 percent of homes in East End were uninsured. In West End, 96 percent were uninsured and in the Freeport area, 70 percent were uninsured.

“Almost all of the West End and East End residents report in the Social Services assessment having no insurance,” it said.

“In [the] Freeport area, there is a very large variation of levels of insurance: some entire subdivisions are completely uninsured while others are fully insured.”

Hurricane Dorian leveled parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September. The storm, the strongest to make landfall in the region in recorded history, sat over eastern Grand Bahama for two days before moving north.

So far, 70 have been confirmed dead in the aftermath, and thousands have been displaced.

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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