CDEMA: Bahamas unemployment could hit 40 percent

Forty percent of people in The Bahamas “could potentially become unemployed” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) predicted yesterday.

“Unemployment continues to rise,” it noted its latest COVID-19 situation report.

“In the coming months, approximately 40 percent of persons could potentially become unemployed. The National Insurance Board is providing unemployment benefits to cushion the impact of closures in the tourism sector.”

However, Director of Labour John Pinder said he doesn’t see the unemployment rate increasing beyond “the high 20s”.

“Most persons are being laid off according to no business,” Pinder said.

“It ain’t like the hurricane where you have to rebuild. The infrastructure is still in place. It’s only the matter of getting persons to start to travel again, to come back to The Bahamas and start to do business again.

“I know there will be some challenges for a number of businesses but I would hope it don’t go to the 40 percent. I see it being maybe the high 20s but I don’t see it going to the 40s. I believe if it goes to that it will only be there for a while.”

He said he believes “things will start to turn around” in The Bahamas by October or November.

In recent weeks, thousands of people across The Bahamas have been laid off as the economy came to a halt amid the health crisis.

The most recent Department of Statistics figures revealed that unemployment on New Providence increased from 9.4 percent in May 2019 to 10.7 percent in December 2019.

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