Business

Shaw happy with drop in unemployment

Saturday, November 04, 2017

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MINISTER of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw has hailed the continued decrease in the country's unemployment rate as a positive reflection of the current sprout of financial growth.

Shaw's statement yeterday follows the recently released figures of the Labour Force Survey produced by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), which showed that unemployment fell to 11.3 per cent, compared to 12.9 per cent in July 2016. The current rate is also a decrease from the 12.2 per cent record in April this year.

Minister Shaw, in a finance ministry release, said the current trend of increased employment solidifies Government's resolve, even further, to forge ahead with its economic growth and job creation agenda.

“We continue to see shoots of economic growth. Jobs in business process and outsourcing and other sectors have increased, and more young people are now able to get jobs. Certainly these are an indication of the Government's growth target,” said Shaw.

He noted that despite weather-related setbacks, economic growth is still expected to be between 1.5 and 2 per cent in the current financial year. This, coupled with the decrease in private sector debt – an indication that companies are now able to produce more and rely less on loan funding to support their production and growth, are further signs of the recovering economy, said the minister.

According to Shaw, the Government has maintained a near balance budget and is on track to reduce the public debt to 107.1 per cent of GDP at the end of this financial year.

STATIN also reported that the number of persons in the labour force in July 2017 was 1,371,200, representing an increase of 8,000 (0.6 per cent) when compared with the 1,363,200 recorded in July 2016.

It said the male labour force increased by 3,300 (0.5 per cent) to 735,900 in July 2017, and the female labour force increased by 4,700 (0.8 per cent) to 635,300, STATIN said.

Unemployment among youths, the ministry said, declined to 27.5 per cent, which represents a decrease of 2.1 percentage points when compared to the rate of 29.6 per cent in July 2016, STATIN said.

Youth employment continued its growth path in a range of sectors such as agriculture, tourism and construction, said the ministry release.

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