The unemployment rate in The Bahamas has increased from 14.7 per cent to 16.2 per cent nationally, according to figures released by the Department of Statistics reported on Wednesday.
The department’s 2013 Labour Force Survey for May provides information on the labour force as it existed during the reference period of April 29 to May 5, 2013.
According to the survey, both New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced increases in their unemployment rates.
In the case of the former, the rate increased from 13.1 per cent to 15.9 per cent; and in the latter, from 18.0 per cent to 19.5 per cent.
The data further shows that there was an increase in both the number of employed and unemployed individuals.
However, the increase in the number of unemployed individuals was greater, resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate, which now stands at 16.2 per cent for the country.
The report notes that as a result of increased prospective business projects, more persons are optimistic about finding jobs and consequently rejoined the labour force.
Hence, the number of discouraged workers – persons in the country who previously did not seek employment, but were able and willing to work – declined by 33 per cent since the last survey.
Discouraged workers are not considered unemployed and therefore were not a part of the labour force.
“In view of the fact that this category of persons has rejoined the labour force, the number of unemployed persons increased, resulting in a higher unemployment rate,” the department said.
Both New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced a decline in the number of discouraged workers.
The decline in New Providence was 26 per cent, while in Grand Bahama the decline was 47 per cent.
Unemployment among youths – 15 to 24 – on both islands continued to be considerably higher than any other age group.
The overall rate was 30.8 per cent, a slight increase over the November figure.
In New Providence, while the number of people in both the labour force and employed labour force was almost equally distributed by sex, the number of females was slightly higher than males in the labour force, but in the employed labour force the reverse is noted.
However, in Grand Bahama, the traditional pattern prevailed. Men outnumbered women in both the labour force and were fewer in number among the unemployed.
The results of the survey, which covered a six-month period, indicate that there was a 3.1 per cent increase in the labour force since the last survey conducted in November of 2012.
Nationally, a total of 195,660 people make up the labour force. Of that figure, 163,995 are employed and 31,665 are unemployed.