Unemployment down

The national unemployment rate decreased from 10 percent in May 2018 to 9.5 percent in May 2019, the Department of Statistics revealed yesterday.

The latest numbers also reflect a drop in the unemployment rate compared to the 10.7 percent recorded in November 2018.

“The hotel and restaurant sector experienced the greatest increase since May 2018 (24 percent) while the community, social and personal service industry, which included the civil service, police service and domestic service, continued to be the country’s largest employer in May 2019 and accounted for 35 percent of the workforce,” Department of Statistics Senior Statistician Cypreanna Winters said yesterday.

“The vulnerable employment remained basically unchanged since May 2018 with no difference in its rate of 6.9 percent of total employment. 

“Males (11,355) still dominate this category. These workers, as defined by ILO (International Labour Organization), are less likely to have formal work arrangements, and more likely to lack decent working conditions and are often characterized by inadequate earnings and benefits.”

Winters noted that the employment gains were driven by private-sector employees, which saw a slight increase to 137,605 since November.

Additionally, the number of self-employed individuals remained unchanged at 32,475 since November as well.

Both New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced decreases in their unemployment rate.

Abaco’s unemployment rate saw a decrease from 10.7 percent in May 2018 to 9.3 percent in May 2019.

But when compared to the November survey, the rate saw an increase in joblessness from 7.7 percent over the six-month period. 

The rate of unemployment for the those aged 15 to 24 was at 20 percent during the time of the survey, representing decreases since November (23.1) and May 2018 (24.1 percent).

However, youth unemployment for women was the highest recorded for all age groups at 20.7 percent, compared with 19.5 percent for young men. 

Discouraged workers in the country declined to 1,990. Of that number, 1,115 were women and 875 were men. This compares to 2,030 discouraged workers in November and 2,175 in May 2018.

This group accounts for people who have not looked for work because they believed no jobs were available. As such they are not calculated as part of the unemployed.

Labor Force 

The labor force totaled 214,890 at the time of the most recent survey 102,730 women and 112,160 men. 

The data further shows that at the time of the survey there were 22,635 people unemployed 11,230 women and 11,405 men. 

There were 15,440 people listed as unemployed on New Providence compared to 17,935 people in November and 16,125 in May 2018.

Another 3,590 were listed as unemployed on Grand Bahama and 1,355 on Abaco. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest yesterday touted the new numbers.

“Bahamians can feel encouraged by this positive news that unemployment improved significantly,” Turnquest said in a statement.

“This strong jobs report is one of the most important indicators that the policies of the government are working for the Bahamian people.

“Now that we have two years of employment data we can really assess the overall performance from 2017.” 

Turnquest added that while the government is pleased to see that unemployment numbers are trending down, the government is ambitious to accelerate growth and drive them even lower.

“We are not resting on our laurels for one second,” said Turnquest.

“Our goal is to secure stronger and more broad-based growth for the Bahamian economy that will result in increased job opportunities and economic benefits for all Bahamians.

“We will continue investing in small and medium-sized businesses as a key means of driving improvements in unemployment.”

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Sloan Smith

Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas. Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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