Categorized | National News

Discouraged Workers Increases

While the level of unemployment remains relatively the same in the Bahamas, the number of discouraged workers, or those who have stopped searching for jobs has increased significantly. The preliminary results of the Labour Force Survey May 2018 released by the Department of Statistics show that employment increased marginally.
The survey revealed that employment shot up by 4,525 people or 2.2 per cent from 203,730 to 208,255.
While there were increases in both the number of employed and unemployed people, officials said there was no significant change in the country’s jobless rate between November 2017 and May this year.
Two of the three most populated islands surveyed recorded a spike in the number of people unemployed, while one experienced a decline.
Grand Bahama’s figure stood at 12.4 percent and Abaco, 10.7 percent.
New Providence recorded a dip in its unemployment rate from 10.6 in November to 10 per cent in May.
The results also showed that more men – 107,815 – than women – 100,440 were working up to the time of the survey.
However, in all islands surveyed except Abaco, men were higher in numbers among the unemployed labour force.
Meanwhile, the vulnerable workers – those permanent workers or those without contracts, declined by 10.0 per cent or 16,370 in May of last year, compared to 14,740 (7.1 percent) of this year.
Again, there were more men than women in this category.
Unemployment among the youth (15 to 24) in the country continues to be considerably higher than any other age group, which officials said is common in most countries.
Their unemployment rate increased from 22.1 per cent to 24.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, discouraged workers increased by 6.9 percent, New Providence by 7.3 percent and Grand Bahama 2.5 percent respectively.
However discouraged workers in Abaco declined by 2.7 percent.
Minister of Labour, Senator Dion Foulkes, said the results indicate that the Bahamian economy is stable and strong.
“The fact that employment increased compared to last November’s survey is very good news for Bahamian workers and their families,” he said.
“The unemployment rate is on a downward trend,” he added.
“The significant decrease in unemployment in New Providence from 10.6 percent to 10 percent indicates that the FNM Government’s economic plan is working and bearing fruits.
“The decrease in the [number] of vulnerable workers by 10 percent shows that the working conditions are improving, and that workers’ salaries have increased.”
The Minister said the government remains concerned about the high rate of unemployment among young people, adding that programmes have and are being implemented to bring relief to the nation’s youth.
However, Opposition Deputy Chester Cooper, is not at all pleased with the results.
“The Labour Force Survey released by the Department of Statistics Friday has some rather troubling indicators that demonstrate the FNM’s reckless policies are coming home to roost,” Cooper said.
“While the level of employed persons is up as a result of Baha Mar, the level of unemployed is a reflection of the FNM doing everything in its power to depress the workforce and the overall economy,” he added.
“Whilst unemployment overall didn’t move significantly in any direction, unemployment on Grand Bahama and Abaco is up.
“Unemployment among youths is also up.
“This is most disturbing given that thousands of young Bahamians graduated high school and college just after the date of this report,” he said.
“Perhaps most concerning is that discouraged workers have increased across the board, are pessimistic about the prospect of finding work.
“The FNM can take credit for embedding a sense of hopelessness in the country, so much so that many people no longer feel there is work to be had.”
“Had these discouraged workers been counted among the unemployed, the unemployment rate would have been much higher,” Cooper said.
“The lack of a cohesive plan to create jobs and spur growth in the economy is becoming more apparent as we move further into the FNM’s term.
“With Baha Mar coming to its top level of hiring and few prospects for meaningful employment on the horizon, the government has raised VAT and other taxes.
“We say again, the government must stop playing politics and focus on economic growth.”
The MP for Exuma and Ragged Island, said a further study of the data behind the report will be done over the next few days, but the initial read is anything but encouraging.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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