Director of Labour John Pinder yesterday predicted that the unemployment rate will increase to 12 percent following Hurricane Dorian.
Unemployment decreased from 10 percent in May 2018 to 9.5 in May 2019.
However, Pinder said, “If I had to put a number, I would say that we [have] probably gone up another two or two and a half percent. You know, those two islands that were affected, Abaco and Grand Bahama, they certainly were the second and third largest economies in The Bahamas.”
He added, “I anticipate for another year or 18 months that we’ll probably see the unemployment rate at about 12 percent.”
Pinder said Dorian – the strongest storm to ever hit The Bahamas – affected a lot of construction jobs on the islands.
“…I would say at least 3,000 jobs were affected,” he said
“There were a lot of projects that were supposed to get started. As a result of the hurricane, the storm, they weren’t able to start those projects as yet and they’re going to need a lot of clean up to really get going again.”
The director said the Department of Labour has no plans to host any job fairs in the wake of the storm.
He said the department is focused on supporting the government’s reconstruction efforts on the islands.
“We are supporting the government and trying to encourage those persons to return to those respective islands,” Pinder said.
“And so, we kind of postponed the job fair in terms of trying to find employment in New Providence for those persons.
“We want to be sure that they are able to rebuild the economies on those respective islands.”
In the weeks following Dorian, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said the government was working with several construction companies to provide “quick employment” for residents from islands impacted by the storm.
The storm has left thousands displaced, hundreds missing and at least 65 dead.