Survey Shows Rise In Unemployment Figures
The unemployment rate has jumped from 13.7 to 15.9 percent, the highest in more than a decade, according to the recently released Department of Statistics’ Labor Force and Household Income Survey, which was conducted in November 2011.
Grand Bahama saw a 5.8 percent rise in unemployment figures from 15.4 percent in May 2011 to 21.2 percent in November 2011.
Unemployment on New Providence increased from 13.2 to 15.1 percent over the same period with unemployment among people, ages 15 to 24, increasing to 34 percent.
The latest unemployment rate beats the 2009 previous high of 14.2 percent. The lowest unemployment rate in the last 10 years was 6.9 percent, which was recorded in 2001.
In its previous labor force study, carried out last May, the department found that unemployment had declined by less than one percent, from 14.2 percent in 2009 to 13.7 percent.
Officials said at the time that a significant number of unemployed people had joined the informal sector as roadside vendors or became self–employed, which they attributed to the decline in the unemployment rate.
However, the latest figures show that the number of people in the informal or self-employed sector declined by 19 and two percent respectively.
“Results from the present survey suggest that a substantial number of these persons were not successful in their operations and therefore withdrew from the labor force or joined the ranks of the unemployed and in the case of the latter have contributed to the 2.4 percent decline in the number of employed persons,” the Department of Statistics said in a statement.
According to the survey, there has also been a small increase in the size of the country’s workforce, which last had 190,075 people. At the time of the survey, there were 14,660 unemployed women and 15,600 unemployed men in the country.
On Grand Bahama men continued to out-number women in the labor force and in the employed labor force, while on New Providence both were almost equally distributed the survey said.
The Labor Force and Household Income Survey also revealed the discouraged worker category increased by 42 percent on Grand Bahama, while on New Providence the category of workers declined by 13 percent.
The Department of Statistics has made the survey that used to be annual, biannual and it will be performed twice a year in May and November.
The latest study was restricted to New Providence and Grand Bahama while proxy estimates were used for the Family Islands.
Three thousand people took part in the study.
The full report is expected to be made public by the end of March.
Last September, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said no new job growth was expected for another year to year and a half.
He gave the news at the orientation for the first phase of the government’s $25 million job readiness and training program.
About 14,000 unemployed people applied for the 3,000 jobs available in the program.
Source: The Nassau Guardian/ The Freeport Newseconomy, jobs