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Unemployment down to 7.8% — STATIN report

Business repoter

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) in its Labour Force Survey for July 2019 has reported a 7.8 per cent unemployment rate for the period, down by 0.6 percentage points and an increase of 2.6 per cent in the employment rate when compared to the same period last year.

The labour force, which is comprised both employed and unemployed people, was 1,360,800. Of this amount, 1,254,100 people were employed, while the remaining 106,700 people were those unemployed— reflecting a decline of 4.8 per cent.

In relation to the figure recorded as employed, 491,600 accounted for informal employment, 585,200 persons formally employed and the remaining 180,300 people in agriculture.

In a media briefing on Thursday held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Carol Coy, director general of STATIN in presenting the findings for the period, said that the release of the data was in keeping with STATIN'S advance release calendar.

“The quarterly labour force survey measures the number of persons employed, unemployed and outside the labour force as at the reference week. The reference week for this survey was the last full week of June. The labour force survey does not measure the number of jobs created,” she said.

“Persons are considered to be employed if they are engaged in economic activities for at least one hour during the reference week. There were 693,200 employed males in July 2019, an increase of 12,900 when compared to July 2018 and 560,900 employed females, an increase of 18,600. Males accounted for 55.3 per cent of the employed labour force and females for 44.7 per cent,” she presented.

“The number of unemployed females was 64, 000, a decline of 6,400 persons whilst the number of unemployed males increased by 1,000 to 42,700 persons,” she also added.

The unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent was 0.6 percentage points lower than the July 2018 rate of 8.4 per cent.

The lower rate, Coy said, was influenced by a decline in the number of unemployed females as a result of those moving up to secure employment.

“In July 2019, the unemployment rate for females declined to 10.2 per cent, while the rate for males remained at 5.8 per cent,” she said.

The youth (ages 14-24) unemployment figure was 20.2 per cent, a decrease of 2.0 per cent when compared to that in 2018. A breakdown of the figures showed male unemployment rates of 16.8 per cent and females at 24.5 per cent.

The number of people classified as being 'outside the labour force' was 726,000 for July 2019, a decrease of 26,700 or 3.5 per cent when compared with the corresponding period last year.

The occupation groups “clerks” had the largest increase in the number of people employed followed by “professionals, senior officials and technicians”. 'Clerks' recorded an increase in employment of 19,100 people (23.2 per cent), to 101,300 in July 2019. The group 'Professionals, Senior Officials and Technicians' increased by 7,500 people up from 263,500 in July 2018 to 271,000 in July 2019. Females accounted for the larger share of the increase in employment within both these groups.

Increases in employment were also seen in the “construction”, “public administration & defence; compulsory social security” and “real estate, renting & business activities” groups.