Business

Job growth driven by low-paying occupations

Sunday, August 17, 2014    

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OVER 70 per cent of the approximately 26,000 jobs created over the last year were elementary occupations.

The higher proportion of employment that is low- paying might be an indication of the type of investments that are taking place in the country, according to Harold Arzu.

Even then, the operations specialist at the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) said that "any growth in the employment number in a period such as this, where there is very little [economic] growth is good".

But he believes that greater investment strategies aimed at employing people with higher skills are needed to drive sustainable economic growth in the country.

"The country needs greater investment in areas such as technology, that require higher skilled labour, because productivity at that level is the best way to speed up the rate of economic growth," he said.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) reported a 2.7 percentage point increase in the employment rate over the year to April 2014. Eighteen thousand were classified as elementary occupations, while 9800 jobs were created for professionals, senior officials and technicians.

The hotel and restaurant services sector reflected the largest growth in employment, with an increase of 9,100, or 13.4 per cent.

The transport, storage and communication sector recorded the second highest increase at 7,300 additional jobs.

Improved employment numbers resulted in higher PAYE tax collection, according to Economic Performance Oversight Committee (EPOC) in its August 14 report.

However, other types of tax revenue went below target. Consequently Government revenues totalled $89.7 billion, or $3.5 billion less than budgeted for the three months to June 30.

On the other side of the same coin, tighter spending resulted in a $6.3 billion saving on the expenditure side. As a result, the Government's fiscal deficit was $2.8 billion smaller than planned.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines elementary occupations as simple and routine tasks, which mainly require the use of hand-held tools and often some physical effort.

The overall unemployment rate for April 2014 was 13.6% compared to 16.3% in April 2013.

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