Statin reports unemployment rate of 8.9 per cent in January
Says COVID-19 continues to impactSunday, April 18, 2021
The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) has reported that the country's unemployment rate up to the start of this year was 8.9 per cent — 1.5 percentage points higher than the 7.3 per cent recorded in January 2020.
Despite a tempering of the figure when compared to the previous October labour force survey, which recorded a rate of 10.7 per cent, the latest figure shows that the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic continues to negatively affect the labour force. The total number of people in the employed labour force up to the reported period was 1,194,800 — 5.9 per cent or 74,300 people fewer than last year January.
Statin's Director General Carol Coy said the unemployment rate increased for both males and females. “In January 2021, the unemployment rate for males increased by 1.6 percentage points to 7.6 per cent, while for females the rate increased by 1.4 percentage points to 10.4 per cent, when compared to the January 2020,” she said at Statin's quarterly briefing.
“The number of unemployed males was 53,600, an increase of 23.5 per cent. In comparison, the number of unemployed females increased by 9.6 per cent or 5,500 to 62,500 persons,” she added.
Pointing to the unemployment rate for youth (ages 14-24), the director general said that this also increased by 3.8 percentages points to 22.8 per cent when compared to the same period last year. The unemployment rate for male youth was 19.6 per cent compared to 17.5 per cent last January, while the female rate was 26.9 per cent in comparison to 20.9 per cent last year.
Coy said that the figures, moving in line with that of economic activities, showed increased unemployment in some of the key industry groups that make up the badly affected services sector.
The data presented showed the largest declines in the number of people employed as being among the industry groups, accommodation and food services — which went down by 27,400 people or 24.7 per cent; arts, entertainment, recreation and other services –which fell by 18,800 or 14.5 per cent; and wholesale and retail trade which had 15,400 fewer people, with a decline of 5.9 per cent. Service workers and shops and market sales workers also saw the largest declines in employment by occupation group.
“The impact of the pandemic was most evident in the services industries, which saw value added declining by 11.8 per cent during the 2020 calendar year,” Coy stated, noting that the significant falls in tourist arrivals, limited movement and a prohibition on the staging of entertainment events largely attributed to these impacts.
As a result of these findings, along with the continued scaling down of activities, Statin, in a COVID-19 module attached to the labour force survey, further indicated that over a half or 54.4 per cent of the households sampled said they had experienced a decrease in income since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.
“When assessing the impact of COVID-19 on individuals, approximately 46.2 per cent or 551,900 of employed persons indicated that since March 2020, they have experienced either a complete loss of income or partial loss of income from their employment,” Coy said in detailing the findings.
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